12:00 AM, December 15, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:13 PM, December 15, 2018

Motorcade of Dr Kamal attacked

Oikyafront blames ruling party men for attack near Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial; 25 hurt; 7 cars vandalised

Jatiya Oikyafront leader Dr Kamal Hossain's motorcade came under attack near the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial in the capital's Mirpur yesterday.

At least 25 people were injured in the attack carried out allegedly by ruling party men around 9:45am when the eminent jurist was returning home after paying tribute to the martyred intellectuals, alleged leaders of the opposition alliance.

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Seven to eight cars were vandalised, they said.

Dr Kamal, also president of the Gonoforum, was unhurt.

Armed with rods and sticks, some supporters of Aslamul Haque, Awami League candidate for Dhaka-14 constituency, attacked Dr Kamal's car after he boarded it at the memorial's main gate on his way home, said Latiful Bari Hamim, media wing member of the Oikyafront.

The attackers vandalised vehicles carrying Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President ASM Abdur Rob, Gonoforum leader Jaglul Haider Afrik, and Oikyafront's candidate for Dhaka-14 Abu Bakar Siddique Saju, he mentioned.

They also beat up BNP and Oikyafront leaders and activists who tried to resist them. At least 25 people, including Saju and Rob's driver, were injured. The driver was taken to a local hospital, Latiful added.

Contacted, Aslamul refuted the allegation and said the claim was made as part of a conspiracy against him.

Earlier around 9:30am, about 50 alliance leaders, including Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, BNP chairperson's adviser Abdus Salam, Gonoforum leaders Afrik and Reza Kibria paid homage to the martyred intellectuals.

As Dr Kamal got into his car after talking to journalists at the memorial, around 40 to 50 people, who had gathered there since morning, hurled brick chips at the cars carrying him and other Oikyafront leaders, and chased those. The vehicles then sped up, according to witnesses.

The attackers beat up around 10 people. A photojournalist was assaulted for taking pictures, they said.

A number of locals told this newspaper that most of the attackers were activists of Swechchasebak League and Chhatra League units in the area.

Several shopkeepers there said they didn't see any policemen during the incident.

Selimuzzaman, officer-in-charge of Darussalam Police Station, said they rushed to the spot sensing troubles but did not find any of the attackers.

Asked about the attack, Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said he was unaware of the incident.

"We have not yet received any written complaint in this regard," he told this newspaper in the evening.

Speaking at a press conference at Oikyafront's Paltan office in the afternoon, Dr Kamal condemned the incident and said the attackers showed disrespect to the martyrs by launching an attack near the memorial.

"We went there to pay tribute to the martyred intellectuals. We are not much bothered about what happened to us ... They showed disrespect to the martyrs. It cannot be accepted."

He alleged that hired goons were used to launch the attack on them.

"How much money did you get to carry out the attack? It cannot be a patriot's act,” the noted jurist said, adding that he would give them money for not committing such an act.

"Today is martyred intellectuals day, but they forgot it."

He said they would write to the inspector general of police (IGP) in this regard.

"I request you [the IGP] to listen to us with due importance. You will be given all information ... Please conduct a probe by trusted officials. We will help you with the investigation."

Dr Kamal said he wants details of all the arrests of alliance leaders and activists.

He further said the country must be freed from the clutches of plunderers and those who are working against the spirit of the Liberation War.

The Oikyafront leader also called upon the Election Commission to create a level playing field for holding the December 30 polls in a free, fair and inclusive manner.

BNP Standing Committee Member Nazrul Islam Khan alleged that ruling party men carried out the attack.

The election commissioners should resign from the constitutional body, shouldering the responsibility for the incident.

JSD President ASM Abdur Rob said the attack would not have happened if military personnel had been deployed.

Blasting the EC for its “partisan role”, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna alleged that the commission is favouring the ruling party.

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