Mainul Hosein has faced the wrath of the Awami League activists on the premises of a court in Rangpur. The former adviser to the military-controlled caretaker government was taken to the court in the northern district from Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj on Sunday for a hearing of his bail petition.
He is accused of defaming the women for calling a female journalist a woman with loose morals on TV.
Activists of the ruling party and its affiliates, including those of its women fronts, gathered outside the court in the morning and demonstrated carrying brooms and footwear amid tight security.
They threw brickbats, footwear and rotten eggs at Mainul as he was brought to the court around 12:30pm.
His supporters in the BNP also gathered there and fought a running battle with their rivals. At least 15 people were injured, police and witnesses said.
Police fired teargas and charged sound grenades, and fired their guns into the air to bring the situation under control, Rangpur Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Altab Hossain said.
Mainul was taken back to the jail after Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Arifa Yasmin Mukta denied his bail petition, Public Prosecutor Abdul Malek said.
The judge adjourned the hearing of the case until Nov 22, according to Malek.
Mainul, the publisher and editorial board chief of The Daily New Nation, has been facing intense criticism since Oct 16 when he called journalist Masuda Bhatti names in Ekattor Journal, a talk show aired live on Ekattor TV.
A hoard of cases were started against him across the country. He secured bail from the High Court in some of the cases, including one started by Bhatti, for the comments “defaming the women”.
Police arrested him from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD President ASM Abdur Rabs home in Dhaka on Oct 23 in the case started by Mily Maya, an activist of Ain Sohayota Kendra Foundation, seeking Tk 100 million in damages for his remarks on TV.
Mainul is a sponsor of the recently formed Jatiya Oikya Front alliance, with the BNP, JSD and Nagorik Oikya in it.
Mainul was brought to Rangpur on Saturday afternoon from Dhaka for the hearing, police said.
As the news spread, the local leaders and activists of the ruling party and its affiliates started gathering on the court premises in the morning. They took out processions carrying brooms and raised slogans against Mainul.
Tension rose when a police vehicle driving Mainul arrived at the court presmises.
The demonstrators hurled the brickbats, rotten eggs and shoes at him when he got off the car. Police helmeted him at the time. His lawyers and police also scuffled with the demonstrators, witnesses said.
The law enforcers cordoned him off and escorted him to the courtroom. The authorities locked the main gate and restricted movements during the hearing.
The demonstrators waiting outside hurled rotten eggs and shoes at Mainul again when police were taking him to the car.
A running battle erupted when some BNP activists raised slogans in support of the Oikya Front leader, witnesses said.
Police finally dispersed the clashing activists by firing tear gas and charging baton after they began throwing brickbats at the policemen, Assistant Commissioner Altab said.
At least 15 people, including five policemen, were injured. Some of the injured were given first aid at the Rangpur Medical College Hospital.