Main opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front chief Dr Kamal Hossain’s motorcade was attacked reportedly by ruling Awami League activists in Dhaka on Friday as opposition’s electioneering continued to be marred by violence and arrests about two weeks before the December 30 general election.
About 100 people were injured in attacks on candidates and campaigners of the front and its major component Bangladesh Nationalist Party at places, including Old Dhaka, Sirajganj, Satkhira, Noakhali, Patuakhali, Bogura, Lakshmipur and Barishal.
About 30 opposition activists were injured and eight cars of front leaders were damaged when they were returning from paying tribute to martyred intellectuals at Mirpur in Dhaka.
Witnesses said that a group of youths carrying sticks and brick chips attacked the motorcade of front leaders when they were preparing to leave the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at about 9:30am.
Kamal was getting in the car at the memorial gate when the attack began, the witnesses said.
The attackers swopped on cars other leaders, including ASM Rob, Jaglul Haider Afrik and front candidate for Dhaka 14 Abu Bakar Siddique Saju.
Before the attack, Kamal became angry at journalists who asked about their stand over Jamaat-e-Islami.
’Khamos,’ he told reporters, asking them how much money they got from whom for asking such questions.
Drivers of the leaders and front activists saved their leaders and got injured when they tried to resist the attackers.
Darus Salam police station inspector Faruqul Alam said that they heard a ’commotion’ at the memorial gate but they were busy at the stage of the memorial.
’We found nothing when we rushed the spot,’ he said.
After the attack, Kamal at a news conference at the front office asked the Awami League to behave ’in last 16 days of the tenure of the government before elections.’
Describing reporters about the attack, Rob said, ’Awami League activists attacked us, firing gunshots, hurling brick chips, beating up with sticks and hockey sticks.’
About 100 of them were injured and eight cars were damaged in the attack, he said.
He said that police gave ways to the Awami League activists to carry out the attack and they could not go to police station as the police station was kept surrounded by the AL activists.
Police inspector Faruqul denied the allegation, saying that the front leaders did not visit the police station for formal complaint.
Rob said it was a planned attack in the continuation of countrywide attacks on them to restrain them from contesting polls.
Election Commission secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said that the commission was unaware about any attack on Kamal’s motorcade.
Talking to reporters at the commission headquarters in the afternoon, he said that they also did not get any complaint from the opposition alliance about the attack.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a meeting of BNP leaders and activists at Shaheed Titu Auditorium in Bogura town on Friday that the Awami League had long been carrying out attacks on the leaders and activists of BNP and Oikya Front across the country sensing its debacle in fair elections.
After placing wreath at Mirpur monument, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said that Oikya Front and BNP leaders nominated Jamaat leaders to contest polls with BNP’s electoral symbol ’sheaf of paddy.’
At Gendaria of Old Dhaka, Oikya Front candidate for Dhaka 6 Subrata Chowdhury’s election campaign was attacked by AL activists at about noon, leaving four people injured.
Subrata alleged that Gendaria police personnel obstructed them and seized their banners before the AL activists’ attack near Faridabad Madrassah.
Oikya Front cancelled its rally at Khoka Ground at Dholaikhal fearing attack and arrests as hundreds of police kept the ground surrounded before the rally, he said.
New Age correspondent in Gazipur reported that AL activists attacked electioneering of Oikya Front candidate Shah Riazul Hannan at Aral Bazaar of Kapasia upazila in Gazipur 4 in the evening, injuring at least 10 BNP activists.
BNP leaders alleged that local Juba League leaders and activists equipped with sticks attacked Riazul, torn apart his punjabi and injured him seriously. The attacker also vandalised the candidate’s car, they alleged.
Kapasia police station officer-in-charge Abu Bakr Siddique said that they were looking into the complaint.
Police arrested Oikya Front candidate for Gazipur 3 Iqbal Siddique’s election campaign conducting committee convener SM Ruhul Amin.
Sripur police officer-in-charge Jabedul Islam said Ruhul Amin was brought to the police station for interrogation.
New Age correspondent in Cumilla reported that a motorcade of BNP candidate KM Mojibul Hoque came under attack by AL activists at Muradnagar leaving at least 20 campaigners injured.
Mojibul accused the supporters of his opponent AL candidate Yusuf Abdullah Harun for the attack which also damaged a number of vehicles.
Muradnagor police station officer-in-charge KM Monjur Alam, however, said that the incident took place despite deployment of adequate number of cops in the area.
Yusuf Abdullah Harun denied his involvement and suspected that outsiders might have involvement in the attack.
In Sirajganj, 20 BNP leaders and activists were injured as police clashed with them at Dhulipara and Kadamtala Friday afternoon.
BNP candidate for Sirajganj 2 Romana Mahmud was also injured in the attack and two others sustained bullet injuries in police firing, BNP alleged.
Police fired tear gas shells, rubber bullets and used shotgun during the clash, witnesses said.
Sirajganj sadar police officer-in-charge Mohammad Daud said that BNP activists clashed with them when police went to Hossainpur neighbourhood hearing that BNP activists were tearing off posters of AL candidate Habibe Millat Muna.
In Satkhira, Oikya Front candidate for Satkhira 1 BNP leader Habibul Islam Habib and six of his campaigners were injured in a attacked by AL activists in helmets during a campaign near Kalaroa police station at about noon, reports New Age correspondent in Satkhira.
A local journalist was beaten up by the AL activists for covering the election campaign for BNP candidate.
Four BNP activists, including elderly leader Bazlur Rahman, were critically injured and taken to Sadar Hospital.
Habib alleged that equipped with iron rods and sticks, Kalaroa upazila AL president Firoj Ahmed led the attack with his followers just 100 yards off the Kalaroa police station.
Kalaroa police officer-in-charge Maruf Ahmed confirmed the attack on BNP’s election campaign but said no formal complaint was lodged.
New Age correspondent in Bogura reported that AL activists set fire to Sariakandi upazila BNP office early Friday.
BNP candidate for Bogura 1 Kazi Rafiqul Islam alleged that AL activists set fire to the office to intimidate them ahead of the elections.
Sariakandi police officer-in-charge Al Amin said that they could not identify the arsonists.
Police prosecuted 65 BNP leaders and activists as the police said they recovered four crude bombs from the Balua union BNP office at Sonatola Thursday night.
New Age correspondent in Barishal reported that AL activists beat up a campaigner of Islami Andolan Bangladesh candidate Syed Fazlul Karim for Barisal 5 when he was distributing leaflet seeking vote at Rupatali Friday afternoon.
Critically injured Shakil Hossain was rescued by local people and rushed to Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital.
Barishal Kotwali police station officer-in-charge Nurul Islam said that they heard about the incident but got no complaint.
New Age correspondent in Patuakhali reported that eight people were injured as AL activists attacked the election rally of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal candidate Manisha Chakraborty at Chapli Bazar of Mahipur Friday afternoon.
The AL activists hurled brick chips at the rally venue and damaged the public address system, witnesses said.
New Age correspondent in Jashore reported Chaugachha police arrested Patibala union council chairman Ataur Rahman Lal, also joint secretary of Chaugachha upazila BNP, and Chaugachha upazila panel chairman Saidul Islam, also organising secretary of Chaugachha municipality BNP.
BNP said that the two were not accused in any case, but sub-inspector SM Akikul Islam of Chaugachha police said that they were arrested on charge of subversive activities.
As the electioneering began on Monday, the main opposition alliance candidates continued carrying out campaign amid attacks, arrests and threats in the 11th parliamentary elections.
Several hundred people, mostly opposition activists, were injured and two ruling Awami League activists were killed so far in clashes triggered by attacks on electioneering of opposition candidates.
Series of attacks were made earlier on the motorcades of the Oikya Front leaders including BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in Thakurgaon on Tuesday.
On Friday, Ruling alliance candidates including Sahara Khatun, contesting against the front candidate Shahid Uddin Mahmud Swapan for Dhaka 18, AL-led alliance candidate Saber Hosain Chowdhury contesting against Afroza Abbas of BNP for Dhaka 9 and AL candidate Fazle Noor Tapos contesting against front candidate Abdul Mannan for Dhaka 10 carried out campaign on Friday with festivity without any hindrance.
Oikya Front candidate for Dhaka 11 conducted campaign on Friday amid complaints of police arrest, raid and vandalism of houses of BNP leaders and activists.
She is contesting against AL candidate AKM Rahmatullah.