Two Jubo League and Awami League leaders were killed in Noakhali and Faridpur as violence broke out yesterday, the second day of election campaign.On the other hand, BNP candidates, including party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and their supporters came under attack allegedly by ruling party men in several districts, with dozens injured.Police said M Hanif, 24, general secretary of Ward-9 Jubo League in Noakhali's Aujbalia union, was killed in a clash that ensued after BNP men attacked an AL procession in the district.In Faridpur, Yusuf Bepari, 35, of Goldangi village, was hurt in a scuffle with a BNP supporter following a heated debate over the election. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead, said AFM Nasim, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station.
Khandaker Nazmul Hasan, president of Faridpur town AL, said Yusuf was a cultural affairs secretary of North Channel union unit of the party.
Mirza Fakhrul’s motorcade came under attack, allegedly by AL men, in Thakurgaon’s Danarhat village. At least 10 people were hurt and four vehicles damaged in the attack, according to BNP leaders.
Besides, ruling party men attacked an election office of Fariduzzaman, Jatiya Oikyafront candidate in Narail-2. Miscreants also tore and snatched a huge number of BNP posters in different areas of Satkhira municipality and Sadar upazila.
Since Monday night, pre-polls violence left at least 85 people, mostly BNP activists, injured in 13 districts, BNP sources said.
After the polls campaign officially began Monday following the allocation of election symbols to parliamentary aspirants, clashes broke out in several districts, including Cumilla and Chandpur.
Later in the day, the motorcades of BNP candidates from Bogura-5 Golam Mohammad Siraj, Chuadanga-1 Sharifuzzaman and BNP-led 20-party candidate for Natore-1 Manjurul Alam Bimol came under attack allegedly by AL activists.
Houses of two local Juba Dal leaders were also attacked, vandalised, torched and looted in Sirajganj and Bogura on Monday night allegedly by ruling party men.
Anwar Hossain, OC of Sudharam Police Station, said BNP men opened fire and sprayed pepper powder on an AL procession in Noakhali’s Nurupaturiahat area around 6:00pm, leading to a clash.
Hanif was shot in the leg and his head was badly smashed on the ground. He was taken to Noakhali General Hospital where doctors declared him dead, he said.
The incident left at least 10 others injured.
Contacted, Noakhali Sadar AL President Shihab Uddin Shahin said BNP men were holding a meeting inside a house in Nurupaturiahat. They attacked the AL procession when it was crossing the area, triggering a running battle which left Hanif dead.
Noakhali BNP General Secretary Abdur Rahman denied the allegation and claimed his party had no such meetings near the spot yesterday.
He blamed AL’s internal clash for Hanif’s death.
At least 15 others were injured as the two parties clashed in other parts of the district.
OC Nasim said Yusuf died after he had a fight with a local BNP man, Mohammad Majid, at a tea stall at Goldangi around 7:30pm.
Majid was also injured and was being treated at a local hospital, he said, adding that different parts of the victim’s body were swollen.
But quoting local BNP men, North Channel Union Chairman Mostakuzaman, said Yusuf fell ill after he went home following the fight. He later died.
Fakhrul’s motorcade came under attack around 1:00pm when he was on his way to Danarhat to meet the families of two party leaders arrested on Monday.
Thakurgaon BNP Treasurer Shariful Islam Sharif said a group of AL activists, armed with sticks and sharp weapons, attacked their motorcade. Four of the 10 vehicles in the convoy were vandalised and 10 BNP men were injured.
Fakhrul escaped the attack unharmed, Sharif said.
Begunbari union AL president Bani Amin denied their involvement.
He claimed that BNP-Jamaat men carried out the attack as part of a conspiracy against the government and were trying to cash in on the situation ahead of the December 30 polls.
Mostafijur Rahman, OC of Thakurgaon Police station, said Fakhrul went to Begunbari without informing them.
Hearing the news, police went to the spot and rescued the BNP leader who later joined an election campaign in Gorea area in the afternoon.
Fakhrul condemned the “attack” and claimed that the AL was resorting to violence as it had become detached from people.
“They attacked our motorcade in a planned way. A police team was in the [nearby] Bazar but they did not take appropriate steps,” he later told an election rally in the district.
He said the Election Commission could not ensure a level-playing field and that the government and the EC had to prevent such incident if it wanted a participatory election.
Pro-BNP teachers of Jahangirnagar University protested the “attack” on Fakhrul’s motorcade. Rights body Ain o Salish Kendra also condemned the attacks on the motorcades of BNP candidates in Thakurgaon and Bogura.
BNP candidate in Manikganj-3 Afroza Khan Rita yesterday alleged that her motorcade was attacked when she, along with her party men, was electioneering in Kaunnara village of Manikganj’s Saturia upazila.
Afroza, also president of Manikganj BNP and daughter of late minister Harunar Rashid Khan Monno, said the attack happened when they went to visit a shrine around 4:00pm.
Wielding bamboo sticks, around 40-45 people, led by Rezaul Karim and Abdul Khalek, convener and joint convener of Saturia Jubo League, attacked the motorcade, she alleged.
At least 15 BNP supporters sustained injuries.
Afroza lodged a complaint with the returning officer and the superintendent of police in the district in this connection.
Contacted, SP Rifat Rahman Shamim said he ordered an investigation into the incident to ensure a peaceful environment before the polls.
Rezaul and Khalek could not be contacted for comments.
BNP aspirant from Bogura-5 Golam Mohammad Siraj alleged that AL activists attacked his motorcade in Hukumalir intersection area when it was heading towards Dhunat Bazar in Dhunat upazila around 11:30am yesterday.
Some 20-25 AL men armed with sharp weapons vandalised four vehicles and injured 16 of his supporters, he alleged.
Gaziur Rahman, additional superintendent of police (Dhunat Sherpur circle), said police were looking into the matter.
Abdul Hai, general secretary of Dhunat AL, blamed the attack on Siraj’s party rivals.
Assistant Returning Officer Razia Sultana said necessary steps would be taken after investigation.
The motorcade of Sharifuzzaman, BNP candidate in Chuadanga-1, came under attack in the district’s Jehala area around 9:30pm on Monday, said party sources.
At least 10 people were injured and two microbuses were damaged, they said.
Sharifuzzaman alleged that local ruling party men, led by Abdul Hannan alias Hat Hannan, joint secretary of Jehala union AL, carried out the attack.
But Hannan said local BNP men ransacked an AL office in Munshiganj Bazar area earlier in the day. Aggrieved, some AL men “just threw a few brick chips” at BNP activists.
Abu Jihad Md Fakhrul Alam Khan, OC of Alamdanga Police Station, said they heard about both the incidents but no one lodged any written complaints.
“We will take action if we get those complaints,” he added.
AL activists allegedly attacked and vandalised the microbus of BNP alliance candidate Manjurul Alam Bimol on Monday evening at Trimohoni Bazar in Lalpur upazila, leaving two of his supporters wounded.
Lalpur OC Nazrul Islam Jewel said there was a “quarrel” between the supporters of AL and Bimol, a Krishak Sramik Dal leader, and that no microbus was attacked.
Besides, four people sustained bullet wounds in a clash between activists of a rebel candidate of Awami League and the candidate of grand alliance at Fatikchhari upazila in Chattogram Monday night.
The clash took place in Nanupur Bazar area around 8:30pm between the supporters of Syed Najibul Bashar Maijbhandari, the alliance candidate, and the supporters of ATM Payarul Alam, an AL rebel, said Fatikchhari Police OC Babul Akhter.
In Patuakhali, at least 30 people were injured in a clash between AL and BNP supporters in Khalgora area of Rangabali upazila yesterday.
The clash took place after supporters of the two parties called meetings at the same place at the same time, said locals.
Meanwhile, at least 10 BNP men were injured in an attack allegedly by Jubo League and Chhatra League activists in Narsingdi Sadar’s Belabo area, said BNP sources.
The incident happened when BNP Standing Committee Member Abdul Moin Khan, party’s nominee for Narsingdi-2, was campaigning in the area.
Contacted, Shahriar Alam, additional superintendent of police in the district, said he was unaware of the incident. “Action will be taken once we receive a complaint”.
Meanwhile, in a press release yesterday, Zonayed Saki, chief coordinator of Ganasanghati Andolon and also a candidate for Dhaka 12, alleged that his party men were attacked by some pro-government activists in Karwan Bazar area of the capital on Monday night.