While the entire nation was paying homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, observing his Homecoming Day yesterday, some activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League's (BCL) Barishal district and city units were busy scuffling among themselves over which group will pay tribute first.
The incident took place next to the Awami League party office in Barishal city's Bibirpukurpar area in the morning, where a temporary platform was erected to mark the day. At least five BCL activists, belonging to both the district and city units, received injuries.
According to witnesses, Barishal City Corporation Mayor Serniabat Sadik Abdullah placed a wreath at a portrait of Bangabandhu in the morning.
Once the mayor left, the BCL activists, who were awaiting their turns, started a commotion as to who will place wreaths first. Soon, the altercation turned to pushing and shoving, and eventually into a full-blown scuffle.
“The day started peacefully. The mayor placed a wreath and left. Suddenly, a group of BCL activists started screaming and fighting,” said a tea-stall owner, wishing anonymity. He said many had to close their shops for a while, fearing more violent conflicts.
Witnesses said the scuffle continued for over 10 minutes. Law enforcers and journalists were also present at the time.
Nurul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Model Police Station, present on the spot, told The Daily Star, “There were some heated exchange of words between the groups, but we brought the situation under control. Everything is normal now.”
Meanwhile, some BCL city unit activists alleged that district unit organising secretary and his associates including Rois Ahmed Manna attacked them. One of their (city unit) activists, Saiful Serniabat, was injured in the attack.
Both Manna and Saiful declined to comment on the issue.
Contacted, Abdur Razzak, secretary of BCL district unit, said, “It was a minor matter. It has been resolved already.”
Wishing anonymity, AL and BCL activists said the mayor called them to his home in the afternoon and warned them not to repeat any such incident that will tarnish the party's image, otherwise strict measures will be taken against them.
The Daily Star could not get in touch with the mayor for his comments.