A group of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal men set fire to the SUV of Chittagong city BNP leader Dr Shahadat Hossian as they clash with the rival faction in front of BNP's office at Nasiman Bhaban in the port city. The activists of the pro-BNP student body clashed over cutting of a cake to observe the birthday of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday. Photo: Star
Activists of two rival groups of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal scuffled at the birthday celebration programme of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at the party office here yesterday.
During the brawl, some members of JCD city unit set fire to the car of BNP city unit general secretary Shahadat Hossain, but his supporters doused the fire quickly before any major damage done, said witnesses.
BNP city unit organised the programme at its Nasimon Bhaban office in the city's Kazir Dewry around 10:30am. Alongside Shahadat, BNP city president Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury was present.
Tension grew among the JCD groups loyal to Khasru and Shahadat when Khasru immediately after completing his speech proceeded for cutting a cake to celebrate Khaleda's birthday.
Both the groups started chanting slogans in favour of their leaders. Irked at this, Khasru rebuked all and asked the activists to stop chanting slogans for any local leader, except for the party chairperson.
After cutting the cake, most senior leaders including Khasru had left the spot before the rival JCD members scuffled and chased each other.
At one stage, some JCD activists set fire to Shahadat's car parked in front of the party office. A handmade bomb also went off there.
A little later, Shahadat led a protest procession in the area.
Talking to The Daily Star, Shahadat blamed Khasru for instigating the altercation.
“It was BNP's programme and all its associated organisations were earlier forbidden to join the event with processions. But some supporters of Khasru joined the programme with a procession of Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal, which angered others,” he added.
Condemning the scuffle at the party programme, Khasru said, “Two rival groups of Chhatra Dal scuffled after I had left the venue completing the programme.”
Intra-party feud escalated in the city unit of BNP following the declaration of the 11-member new committee of the JCD city unit on July 21 after long 10 years.
Pro-Khasru JCD activists have been demonstrating against the new committee alleging that followers of Shahadat have secured the vital posts in the new JCD committee due to the latter's influence, though they were non-students.
At least nine JCD leaders and activists, including the newly selected general secretary Belayet Hossain Bulu, were injured in a clash between the two feuding JCD groups in the city on July 31.
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED IN DHAKA
BNP and its associated organisations yesterday celebrated the 68th birth anniversary of Khaleda Zia at the party headquarters in the capital's Nayapaltan.
Flanked by party leaders and activists, BNP senior leaders including Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas and Sadeque Hossain Khoka cut a cake weighing around 65 pounds at the office around 11:00am.
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, Swechchhasebak Dal, Sramik Dal, Tanti Dal and other associated organisations of the main opposition party also cut separate cakes at the same venue to mark Khaleda's birthday.