2 candidates attacked in Dhaka, 1 sued in Kushtia; ban on gathering at Homna of Cumilla; arrests, cases against opposition continue
Two candidates of Bangladesh Nationalist Party were attacked during election campaign in Dhaka while another candidate was sued under the controversial Digital Security Act in Kushtia on Tuesday. Arrests of the opposition candidates and implicating them in cases were also reported on Tuesday as the 11th parliamentary polls elections are nearing.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged on Tuesday that attacks and obstruction on the party candidates and arrests of the party leaders and activists occurred at least in 67 constituencies across the country on Monday and Tuesday. Transparency International Bangladesh expressed concern over the unabated attacks and harassment of opposition candidates while the Election Commission failed to take steps against the attackers. The local administration in Homna upazila of Cumilla imposed section 144 banning all kinds of gathering after BNP announced election rally in the district.
Meanwhile, independent candidate for Tangail 4, Abdul Latif Siddique, also a former minister and expelled Awami League leader, continued hunger strike protesting against attacks on his motorcade by Awami League activists on Sunday. Campaigners of BNP candidate for Dhaka 4 Salahuddin Ahmed and Dhaka 9 Afroja Abbas were attacked reportedly by ruling Awami League activists at Jurain and Goran in Dhaka on Tuesday. Witnesses said Afroja Abbas along with several hundred of her supporters were on an election campaign in Khilgaon, Tilpapara and Goran area around noon carrying their electoral symbols ‘sheaf of paddy’ when Awami League activists brought out a procession of boat, Awami League’s electoral symbol, and positioned themselves right behind Afroja’s procession. When Aforja’s procession reached Baganbari area of Goran, the Awami League activists started pelting brickbats from behind. Following the attack a chase and counter chase ensued, leaving some 10 people of both the parties injured. After the attack, the BNP activists left the area, while AL activists took position near Khilgaon Islamic Library area. Additional police were deployed. Khilgaon police officer-in-charge Moshiur Rahman told that the peaceful procession of Afroja Abbas suddenly came under attack when the Awami League activists brought out their procession. He said five police personnel including him were injured while trying to contain the situation. Police rescued Afroja and helped her reach home at Shahjahanpur, he said.
In Jurain, at least 10 supporters of Salahuddin were injured in an attack carried out at Natun Rasta area around 12:30pm, witnesses said. The attackers also damaged two microbuses of Salahuddin’s campaigners. Witnesses said, Salahuddin and his supporters were distributing leaflets to voters at Ghuntighar in Natun Rasta area of Jurain around 12:30pm when the ruling Awami League activists equipped with sticks and iron rods swooped on them. The indiscriminate attack left 10 supporters of Salahuddin injured. Salahuddin alleged that AL leader Habibur Rahman Habu, also ward commissioner of Ward 51, led the attack. Shyampur police station officer-in-charge Mizanur Rahman said they do not have any such information on attack.
In Kushtia, BNP candidate for Kushtia 4 Syed Mehedi Ahmed Rumi was sued under Digital Security Act on Tuesday, reports our correspondent. AL leader and public prosecutor of Kushtia court, Akram Hossain Dulal, filed the case against Rumi with Kumarkhali Judicial Magistrate Court under sections 25 and 31 of the Digital Security Act. Kushtia Senior Judicial Magistrate M Masuduzzaman ordered the officer-in-charge of Kumarkhali police station to record the case. Rumi is the advisor of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and the BNP’s Kushtia district unit president. The lawsuit comes following a ‘leaked’ phone call between him and regional leader of Jatiyatabadi Tati Dal, Nur Islam, on December 16. Along with Rumi, Nur Islam was also sued in the Digital Security Act. Rumi said that the audio clip was fake and was created to tarnish his image and to keep him away from the election race.
In Cumilla, BNP rallies were foiled as section 144 was imposed in Homna of Cumilla on Tuesday, reports UNB. BNP standing committee member and candidate for Cumilla 1 and 2, Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain said they were forced to call off two of their scheduled election rallies in Homna upazila’s Ramkrishnapur and Bagher Bazar on Tuesday after the local administration imposed a ban on gathering. ‘The Upazila Nirbahi Officer imposed section 144 at the last moment, saying that the local Awami League unit also wants to hold rallies at the same venues,’ Mosharraf said. Mosharraf accused Homna’s assistant returning officer of violating the electoral code of conduct and working for the ruling Awami League.
In Barishal, a Juba Dal leader, Masum Hawladar, a joint secretary of Juba Dal’s Gaurnadi unit, was attacked with a hammer allegedly by Juba League leaders and activists on Monday night. Masum was admitted to Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital, reports our correspondent.
Police arrested eight leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami from C&B Road area of Barishal early Tuesday.
Nurul Islam, officer-in-charge of Barishal Kotwali police, said they were assembled to join a conspiracy meeting at the residence of Shah Alam, amir of Barishal district to foil the upcoming JS polls. In Lakshmipur, the kitchen of a member of a minority community Krishna Kumar was torched by miscreants on Monday night at the district town. Locals doused the flame, reports our correspondent.
In Bogra, 46 BNP leaders and activists were sued on Tuesday over the cocktail explosion at the motorcade of AL-led alliance candidate for Bogura 2 and Jatiya Party leader Shariful Islam Jinnah on Monday, reports our correspondent.
In Dhunat of Bogura, another case was filed against 71 BNP leaders and activists on Monday night over the attacks on AL candidate for Bogura 5 on Monday.
The New Age correspondent in Satkhira reported that police detained 45 campaigners of Oikya Front candidate for Satkira 3 constituency Shahidul Islam from his election campaign office on Tuesday evening.
United News of Bangladesh reported that a total of 53 BNP leaders were sued while 15 arrested in Bogura, Munshiganj and Khulna districts on Tuesday.
UNB report said that in Munshiganj, 19 BNP members were sued for allegedly torching an election camp of ruling Awami League at Palgaon of Louhajang upazila.
Juba League president Muhammad Alamgir Kabir filed the case accusing 19 BNP members and 7-8 unnamed people.
Officer-in-charge of Louhajang police station also arrested three BNP activists in this connection.
In Khulna, BNP candidate of Khulna 3 constituency Rokibul Islam Bakul alleged that police detained 12 BNP activists on Tuesday without any charge, United News of Bangladesh added. He also submitted a petition to the returning officer seeking remedy.
He said Awami League and Chhatra League activists attacked and intimidated BNP supporters while police arrested local leaders of BNP over false allegations.