Students of Dhaka University on Wednesday once again blocked the capital’s Shahbagh crossing after police barred their march towards the Election Commission demanding deferral of the elections to two Dhaka city corporations scheduled for January 30 which coincides with Saraswati Puja.
During the demonstration, a man was beaten by the protesters for brandishing a pistol to clear the road for his vehicle and was handed over to the police.
Earlier, students from different departments irrespective of religions gathered at Raju Memorial Monument around 1:00pm and marched towards Election Commission and police obstructed them at Shahbagh.
Then they took position on the crossing halting traffic movements from 2:00pm to 3:00pm which created long tailbacks on all the roads connecting Shahbagh.
Election Commission secretary M Alamgir on Wednesday said that the students are staging demonstration out of misunderstanding, as Saraswati Puja will be celebrated on January 29 while the voting to the DSCC and DNCC will be held on January 30.
Emerging from a meeting at Nirbachan Bhaban, the commission secretary said that there was no way to change the voting date as SSC examination will start on February 1.
He said that the High Court rejected a writ petition in this regard and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Bangladesh Hindu Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad are yet to file any appeal against the HC order.
‘The protesters are young in age and they are bringing out procession from misunderstanding. I think that they would understand their mistakes immediately,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Dhaka University Central Student Union vice-president Nurul Haque Nur alleged tht government intentionally fixed the election date to perish communal harmony and it was part of its ‘blue print’.
He also said that the Election Commission did not fix the date without consent of the government and they tried to create anarchy during the election and to destabilise the country.
Demanding reschedule of the election, Nurul also criticised the High Court’s decision to turn down a writ petition seeking its directive to defer the elections.
Nurul came with these remarks while talking with journalists at his office at DUCSU Building after 24 days of an attack on him and his fellows on December 22 by Chhatra League and Muktijuddha Mancha which injured at least 40.
Addressing the protesters at Shahbagh, Utpal Biswas, also vice-president of Jagannath hall Union and general secretary of Chhatra League’s hall unit, said, ‘We always celebrate Swaraswati Puja in a non-communal environment’.
He said that it was a matter of sorrow that the Election Commission had set January 30 for holding two Dhaka city elections and that the commission did not pay heed to demands of different social and religious organisations to change the date.
Utpal also condemned the remarks made by Election Commission secretary Md Alamgir about holding polls on the day of Saraswati Puja.
Terming election as another festival of Bangladesh, he said, ‘Puja and polls should not be held on the same day. We demand immediate reschedule of Dhaka city polls.’
He also announced to hold a rally today at Raju memorial monument.
‘During the blockade one man driving a black car came out of the vehicle and demanded that his car be allowed to pass through. When the students refused, he pulled out a pistol and aimed it at the students,’ said Kanjilal Roy, cultural secretary of Jagannath Hall union.
Then he engaged in altercation with protesters and he was beaten by the protesters, he said.
Later, police intervened and rescued the man, and also found a licensed gun.
The man was identified as businessman Alif Rushdi Hasan Moon, 36. He was taken to Shahbagh police station, confirmed Shahbagh police station officer-in-charge Abul Hasan.
Later in the evening, police set him free taking undertakings, said Abul Hasan.
Earlier on Tuesday, the High Court turned down a writ petition seeking its directive to defer the elections to the two Dhaka city corporations.
Following the HC order, the elections to Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation will be held as per its schedule on January 30.
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