The election campaign of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s mayoral candidate for Dhaka north city Tabith Awal came under attack at Gabtali on Tuesday by a group of people allegedly led by a ruling Awami League’s councillor candidate.
Tabith and about 15 of his supporters were injured in the attacks led by ruling Awami League-backed ward 9 councillor candidate Mujib Sarwar Masum, witnesses said.
Tabith alleged that the attacked was ‘led by Mujib targeting him before cameras’.
‘It’s more worrisome that the attack was carried out in presence of police,’ he said asking the Election Commission to take measure.
Awami League’s mayoral candidate for the Dhaka north city corporation, Atiqul Islam, however claimed that the attack on Tabith might be out of ‘internal clash’ of Tabith’s followers.
‘I’d request him not to raise allegations and request the Election Commission to investigate if the incident was internal clash,’ he said.
Witnesses said Tabith was campaigning in Kalabazar area in Gabtali at about 11:30am.
From the tail end of Tabith’s campaign, a group of people shouting ‘Joy Bangla’ and carrying cricket stumps, brick chips and eggs suddenly swooped on Tabith and his supporters.
Hard-faced Awami League-backed ward 9 councillor candidate Mujib Sarwar Masum, who is contesting with the symbol ‘pushcart’, was spotted next to Tabith, who was protecting his head with his hands and his followers were trying to making human-wall.
Police, who were in the tail end of Tabith’s campaigns, prevented the attacker for a while, but the outnumbered attacker continued pushing to Tabith and his followers.
As Tabith and his followers marched hurriedly, the miscreants further attacked them and started pelting brick chips and eggs at them.
After the second attack, Tabith and his flowers went scattered, when the miscreants further attacked them with brick chips and eggs.
Tabith’s secretary Mahmud Hasan, who was among the injured, said at least 15 of them suffered injuries in the attack.
A cameraperson of Ekattar TV and reporters of different news organisations were also victims of the attack.
BNP leaders Habibur Rahman Habib, Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie and Nazimuddin Alam were with Tabith during the attacks.
Tabith said he was in scheduled campaigns in the area and his supporters were peaceful, but the attack was made in a cowardly way by Mujib Sarwar Masum and his people.
‘The wave of supports for me has irked the Awami League and that is why they are attacking us,’ he said.
‘No attack could stop us from continuing our campaigns,’ he said.
Tabith later conducted campaigns in Kalyanpur, Paikpara, Shewrapara and Kazipara area.
Darus Salam police station officer-in-charge Tofail Ahmed said the incident was just fist-fight between the supporters of two groups. ‘It’s not attack,’ he said.
Awami League’s mayoral candidate for Dhaka north, Atiqul Islam said the attack on Tabith might be due to internal clash of his supporters.
‘They might have clashed among themselves,’ he said, while speaking an election rally at Beraid Muslim High School ground.
Asking Tabith not to raise allegations, he said he would ‘continue to tell the story of development’ to the voters.
‘The voters will elect me to continue development by Awami League’, he said.
Atiqul conducted election campaign in Beraid, Badda, Satarkul and Natunbazar area on Tuesday.
Awami League’s mayoral candidate for Dhaka south city corporation Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh on Tuesday claimed that DSCC mayor Sayeed Khokon had extended support to him while BNP’s candidate Ishraque Hossain claimed that massive public support had created in favour of BNP.
During Tuesday’s campaign, a huge number of party leaders and activists accompanied both the candidates who assured the city dwellers for specific development and expressed their hope about win.
The BNP candidate said that they took part in the election as a part of movement to free party chairperson Khaleda Zia to restore democracy while AL candidate shot back that BNP was for movement, not for development.
Taposh said that Khokan was sitting DSCC mayor and, that is why, he could not campaign for him.
He said that Khokon might be hurt mentally as he did not get party nomination. ‘It is natural.’
Taposh visited Sutrapur, Gendaria and Kotwali areas.
Ishraque Hossain, while beginning his campaign for Tuesday at Hossain Market of Demra, pointing out huge presence of city dwellers and party leaders and activists, said that he never saw such mass wave earlier and that no conspiracy of the government would work on the voting day.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in a statement expressed concern and condemned the attack on Tabith. He said that at least 15 BNP leaders and activists including Tabith and two journalists were injured in the attack.
Terming the attack pre-planned and cowardice, he said that the ferociousness of ruling party’s goons was increasing as the election date was nearing.
‘The Awami League goons were attacking BNP backed candidates campaigns every day to hold the Dhaka city elections slated for February 1 one-sided and to make the Awami League candidates winner,’ he said.
He said that the chief election commissioner was active to fulfil the expectations of the prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
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