12:00 AM, December 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:56 PM, December 17, 2018

Violence just won't let up

Six BNP candidates attacked; 200 people hurt across country

Electoral violence continues in many parts of the country as polls campaigns of six BNP candidates, including Abdul Moyeen Khan and Abdullah Al Noman, came under attack allegedly from Awami League men yesterday.

Over 170 BNP leaders and activists were injured in the incidents in 12 districts. AL leaders, however, denied involvement of party men in the attacks.

Besides, around 25 AL supporters were wounded in clashes with BNP men in different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, GM Nazrul Islam, BNP candidate for Satkhira-4 and a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, was arrested in connection with a case over plotting subversive acts.

This was the second arrest of a BNP candidate. Earlier on Thursday, Fazlul Haque Milon, a contender for Gazipur-5, was arrested over a number of cases.

Electoral violence broke out on December 11, the second day of electioneering, when two AL men were killed and 70 others hurt in Noakhali and Faridpur.

Until yesterday, at least 13 BNP candidates and 875 supporters of the party were wounded as ruling party men allegedly attacked the opposition men, according to media reports.

Besides, AL supporters allegedly attacked campaigns and motorcades of 26 BNP and Oikyafront candidates in the last seven days.

Police have detained around 250 BNP men since December 10.

Yesterday, at least 50 BNP men were wounded when the motorcade of Moyeen, BNP candidate for Narsingdi-2, was attacked during electioneering in Narsingdi's Palash upazila.

Carrying firearms, AL men launched the attack at Pachdona Bazar on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway around 12:30pm, alleged Moyeen, also a BNP standing committee member.

The attackers opened fire on the BNP men and vandalised a car, he claimed while talking to The Daily Star.

Contacted, Anwarul Ashraf Khan, president of Palash upazila AL, said he was not aware of any such incident.

It could be a rumour, said Anwarul, also AL candidate for the same constituency.

Asked, Shariar Alam, additional superintendent of police in Narsingdi (Sadar and Palash circle), said he heard that chase and counter-chase took place between supporters of the two parties.

Police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control, he added.

In Noakhali, three BNP men suffered wounds and five vehicles were vandalised during an attack on a local BNP office in Senbagh upazila yesterday morning.

Zainul Abdin Farooque, BNP candidate for Noakhali-2, was inside the party office at that time. He was unhurt.

Witnesses said BNP men gathered at the party office around 9:00pm to attend a Victory Day programme. Later, ruling party men swooped on them.

Local BNP leader and Senbagh Upazila Parishad Chairman Abul Kalam Azad was among the injured.

Contacted, M Morshed Alam, convener of Senbagh upazila AL and the party's candidate for Noakhali-2, denied the allegation and said the incident might have resulted from an intra-party feud.

Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Senbagh Police Station, said on information that chase and counter-chase were taking place between AL and BNP supporters, they went to the spot and brought the situation under control.

The OC said the claim of attacks on the BNP office was not true.

In Chattogram, eight BNP men were injured as a Victory Day procession, led by BNP Vice-chairman Abdullah Al Noman, came under attack in Noyabazar area.

Locals said BNP men brought out the procession around 12:30pm. Suddenly, a group of men carrying sticks and machetes attacked the procession.

At a press conference after the incident, Noman, also BNP candidate for Chattogram-10, alleged that AL men carried out the attack while police played the role of spectators.

Contacted, SM Obaidul Haque, OC of Halishahar Police Station, said no such incident took place in the area.

When two processions of the AL and the BNP came face to face there, police diverted those to separate ways, he mentioned.

In Tangail, 10 people were hurt and four cars were vandalised during an attack on the motorcade of Abdul Latif Siddiqui, an independent candidate for Tangail-4, in Kalihati upazila's Gohaliabari.

Talking to reporters, Latif alleged that 20 to 25 supporters of AL candidate for the constituency Hasan Imam Khan Sohel Hazari threw brick chips at his motorcade.

He claimed that when they took shelter in a nearby house, the attackers swooped on them.

Latif and his supporters began a sit-in in front of the returning officer's office in Tangail at 2:15pm, demanding withdrawal of Kalihati Police Station OC Mir Mosharraf Hossain and arrest of the attackers.

Later, he submitted a complaint to Returning Officer Md Shaidul Islam, who asked the electoral enquiry committee to investigate it.

Contacted, Sanjit Kumar Roy, superintendent of police in Tangail, said on information, police went to the scene and brought the situation under control.

Talking to this newspaper, Sohel Hazari, incumbent lawmaker and AL candidate for Tangail-4, refuted the allegation that his supporters were involved in the incident.

Angry locals might have pelted the motorcade with stones, he said.

Ruling party men allegedly attacked a procession led by BNP candidate for Natore- 2 Sabina Yasmin Chhabi in Natore town's Station Bazar area around 11:00am yesterday. Four of her supporters were injured.

Contacted, Shafiqul Islam Shimul, AL candidate for the same constituency, claimed that no AL activist was involved in the attack.

Natore SP Saifullah Al Mamun told this newspaper, "We have heard about the attack and are looking into it.”

He said action would be taken if they find proof of the attack.

In Bagerhat, seven BNP men were injured as AL men allegedly attacked the motorcade of BNP candidate for Bagerhat-2 MA Salam in Jatrapur area.

However, Sheikh Kamruzzaman Tuku, general secretary of AL district unit, denied involvement of party men in the attack.

Bagerhat SP Pankaj Chandra Roy said, ''The [BNP] candidate informed me about the incident over the phone. He has not yet lodged any complaint. If we get a complaint, we will probe and take action.''

The motorcade of BNP candidate for Sylhet-4 Dildar Hossain Salim also came under attack in Sylhet's Noagaon village yesterday evening.

“My car's windshield was broken as brick chips were hurled at it,” Salim told The Daily Star.

Police said the incident might have stemmed from an intra-party feud in the BNP's local unit.

In Rangamati, 22 supporters of both the AL and the BNP were injured in a clash between the two sides in Poura Bhaban area of Baghaichhari upazila yesterday morning.

Later around 7:00pm, activists of the two parties clashed in Rangamati town's Bhedbhedi area. About 20 supporters of the BNP and four from the AL were injured.

At separate press conferences, the two sides blamed each other for the incident.

Ruling party men fought with BNP activists at Borhanuddin in Bhola's Tobgi union, leaving around 50 supporters of both parties wounded. 

In Chandpur, at least 20 people, including a policeman, were hurt in a clash between AL and BNP supporters at Puran Bazar.

Besides, the BNP alleged that 12 supporters of the party were wounded in attacks allegedly by AL men in Patuakhali's Bauphal upazila on Saturday evening.

However, local AL leaders denied the allegation and said no party activist was involved in the attack.

In Moulvibazar, BNP men allegedly vandalised an AL office in Kulaura upazila's Dhulipara around 8:30pm yesterday.

Local BNP leaders claimed that the allegation might have been brought as part of a plot to harass party activists.

NAZRUL ARRESTED

Jamaat leader Nazrul and three other party leaders were arrested from his house at Ismailpur village.

Nazrul, BNP candidate for Satkhira-4, was holding a meeting with the three at his house around 1:30pm, said Azizur Rahman, publicity secretary of Satkhira district Jamaat unit.

Abul Kalam, OC of Shyamnagar Police Station, said arrest warrants had been issued against Nazrul in 12 cases.


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