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Oikya Front top brass come under attack in Dhaka

  • Published at 01:07 pm December 14th, 2018
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Dr. Kamal's motorcade under attack while exiting the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial, in Dhaka’s Mirpur area on Friday; December 14, 2018 Collected

Gono Forum Media Wing Officer Latiful Bari Hamim blames followers of local Awami League candidate Aslamul Haque for the attack

Opposition platform Jatiya Oikya Front leaders, including its chief Dr Kamal Hossain's motorcade, came under attack in Dhaka on Friday.

Dr Kamal's motorcade was attacked by supposed Awami League supporters, after he and other Oikya Front leaders paid their tributes and while exiting the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in the morning.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal leader ASM Abdur Rab, Gono Forum candidate Reza Kibria, and Gonoshasthaya Kendra Trustee Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury were with the eminent jurist at the time.

Gono Forum Media Wing Officer Latiful Bari Hamim blamed followers of local Awami League candidate Aslamul Haque for the attack.

“A number of vehicles were vandalized, including Rab's, while some activists also sustained injuries in the attack,” he said.

According to the Darussalam police station OC Selim-uz-Zaman: “Police witnessed scuffle near the memorial’s entrance when Dr Kamal’s convoy was leaving the premises.”

He said: “We were positioned near the memorial, which is roughly 50 metres away from the gate. By the time we went towards to the gate, everything had been resolved.” 

Dr Kamal blames AL

At an urgent press conference later in the afternoon, Dr Kamal asked the government to stop giving illegal orders to law enforcement agencies and ruling party activists ahead of the 11th general election.

“You (Awami League) are in power only for the next 20 days. No one knows what will happen next, so be patient and stop giving illegal orders,” Dr Kamal said.

He urged the police not to follow “illegal” orders from the government, and added: “I am not blaming you [police]. But your duty is to serve the people and also not to follow illegal orders.” 

He said that at least seven or eight vehicles, including those belonging to him and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab) President ASM Abdur Rab, were vandalized.

He added that at least 25-30 people, including Oikya Front’s candidate in Dhaka 14 constituency Shahjahan Saju, were injured during the attack.

ikya Front that comprises of BNP, Gono Forum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab), Nagorik Oikya, and Krishak Sramik Janata League, also came under attack in different areas.

Unidentified men seen scuffle with Jatiya Oikya Front supporters in Dhaka's Mirpur area on Friday; December 14, 2018 | Collected

Dr Kamal, also heads Gono Forum, alleged that the attack was carried out by the followers of Awami League leader Aslamul Haque, who is contesting the election from the same seat with the ruling party’s ticket.

He also added that it was their constitutional right to engage the people to campaign. “And we will continue to do that. Let’s see who arrests us.” 

Kamal, also the president of Gono Forum and one of the authors of the country’s constitution said barring them from campaigning would be a violation of the constitutional rights.

Attacks on opposition in various places

Some candidates of the Jatiya Oikya Front, which comprises of BNP, Gono Forum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab), Nagorik Oikya, and Krishak Sramik Janata League, also came under attack in different areas.

Oikya Front candidate Advocate Subrata Chowdhury's election campaign was attacked by unidentified miscreants.

At least three activists sustained injuries during the attack while campaigning in the capital’s Gandaria area on Friday afternoon.

Supporters claimed that the attack was carried out by Awami League activists; however, the Dhaka Tribune could not independently verify the accusation.

BNP's cultural wing Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha (Jasas) Hazaribagh unit President Masum Billal Fardeen told the Dhaka Tribune that some of their members and activists came under attack close to the Gandaria police station while they were preparing for election campaigning.

“A sub-inspector without a name tag approached us and started arguing with us. Within a few minutes, 12 to 15 youths, chanting slogans of “Nouka Nouka,” and “Joy Bangla,” attacked our leader Subrata Chowdhury with a cricket bat,” said Fardeen, also a special assistant to Gono Forum Executive President Subrata.

Fardeen also said he sustained injuries in preventing miscreants from attacking while two others - Wari thana Gono Forum convener Monir and one Masum - also sustained injuries.

He claimed: “Police were neglecting their duties as they did not take any action.”

Dhaka Tribune tried to reach Gandaria police station OC Kazi Mizanur Rahman, but his phone went unanswered.

Opposition parties, including BNP, have been claiming that attacks are ongoing against their campaigners from December 10, when electoral symbols were given to candidates, paving a way for them to formally start electoral campaigns for the December 30 polls.

The opposition is facing obstruction in their electioneering while their campaigners are threatened and arrested in many places, they claimed.