1 killed in police-BNP clash at Nayapaltan
Rizvi, Aman, Salam, Shimul, Annie detained08 December 2022
Members of police personnel charge batons on BNP leaders and activists in front of Nayapaltan office on Wednesday. (Inset) Police detained Ruhul Kabir Rizvi (Left), Amanullah Aman (Centre), Abdus Salam (Right) from its central party office. NN photo
Staff Reporter :
At least one person was killed, 100 others injured and 200 BNP leaders and workers were picked up following a clash between police and BNP activists with chase and counter-chase over holding of public meetings in Naya Paltan area on Saturday.
The deceased was identified as Mokbul Ahmed, 28, whose political affiliation could not be confirmed immediately, while 20 others were critically injured with bullet ridden bodies when they were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
When the clash was continuing outside the BNP party office, BNP senior leaders were holding a press conference inside the party office on the upcoming programme scheduled on December 10.
Following the incident, BNP claimed that police picked up around 200 BNP leaders and workers including Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Special Assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, Dhaka city North unit BNP convener Amanullah Aman, South Convener Abdus Salam and BNP Joint Secretary General Khairul Kabir Khokon, Publicity Secretary Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie, former General Secretary of Swechhasebak Dal Abdul Kadir Bhuiyan Jewel and Helen Jerin Khan from the party headquarters.
Police also carried out a thorough search inside the BNP office by keeping the collapsible gate closed for a long time and arrested the central leaders.
During the fight, police raised barricades at different strategic points like Nightingale and Arambagh-Fakirapul intersections creating an atmosphere of curfew as the vehicular and people's movement were restricted.
Earlier, armoured vehicles, water cannon and prison vans as well as a striking force including SWAT were deployed in the Naya Paltan area around noon.
In order to contain the situation, police fired rubber bullets and lobbed the teargas shell which made the entire locality covered with white gas which caused irritation of eyes.
Police claimed that BNP workers were asked to keep the road free, but they blocked streets for traffic.
BNP, on the other hand, said that their workers had been gathering before their party headquarters in great numbers as many of their leaders and activists had already reached the capital for the divisional rally slated on December 10.
But police swooped on them without any provocation, leaving at least 100 of their men injured including bullet injury, BNP said.
Police also claimed that a number of their law enforcers had reached injury for the attack by the BNP men.
DHCH Outpost in-charge Bachchu Mia said the body of Mokbul Ahmed had been kept in the morgue.
Abdur Rahman, a brother of Mokbul, said, "We are four brothers. Mokbul was the youngest one. He used to do embroidery work. He was not connected with politics." Mokbul left behind his wife Halima and only daughter Mithila, 8.
Sources said that the clash left at least 22 persons critically injured as their bodies were strained with rubber bullets and were bleeding profusely.
Of the critically injured were Robin Khan, 30, Monir, 26, Junayed, 30, Jubayer, 30, Khokhon, 41, Jewel, 30,, Shamim, 35, Hanif, 30, Arif, 28, Monir 25, Sultan, 35, Saiful, 35, Mamun, 36, Asad, 28, Biplob, 28, Monir, 28, Ashraful, 28, Mehedi Hasan, 29, Rakib, 22, Jahir, 35.
Witnesses said that BNP leaders and workers had been gathering in front of their central party office since morning and their presence turned into a huge gathering around 2:30 pm, making the streets blocked for traffic.
When police tried to drive away the leaders and activists from the streets, the situation turned into a fierce clash between them, leaving BNP workers, police and journalists injured.
Hayatul Islam Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Matijheel Division told the media that the BNP activists attacked them without any provocation when the police requested them to clear the streets in front of their party office.
Meanwhile, BNP senior leaders said that they would hold their final rally peacefully before their party headquarters at Naya Paltan at any cost on December 10.
They would not go to Suhrawardy Udyan for the congregation though the police administration has given permission there.
As per the directives of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, BNP is not allowed to hold their rally on busy streets especially before their party headquarters.
As there are only two-day left for the public meeting, hundreds of BNP leaders and activists have been arriving in the capital and gathering before the party central office every day.
As part of the preparation for the upcoming rally, BNP gathered in front of their party office on Wednesday and chanted slogans with banners.
During the press conference, BNP Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas said that the government should offer an acceptable alternative for their rally on 10 December.
"If the government does not give an acceptable alternative, then our rally will be held in Nayapaltan," he added.