• Thursday, Feb 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:57 pm

Dhaka city polls: BNP’s Tabith attacked during electioneering

  • Published at 12:16 pm January 21st, 2020

The incident took place on Tuesday morning

Tabith Awal, the mayoral candidate of the BNP at the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) election, came under attack while campaigning in Dhaka's Gabtoli area Tuesday morning.

Tabith alleged that goons led by the Awami League Ward 9 councilor candidate Mujib Sorwar Masum attacked him and his supporters.

According to witnesses, when Tabith started campaigning in Bazarpara area near Parbat Cinema Hall, some people attacked his team with sticks. Eggs were also thrown at the BNP candidate. Tabith’s supporters were soon locked in clashes with the attackers.

The BNP claimed that 15 to 20 of its followers, including Tabith and the party’s Publicity Affairs Secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie, were injured in the attack. Two television reporters were also hurt.

Soon after the clash, police arrived at the scene and were seen trying to mediate between the two groups and have them disperse.

About the attack on Tabith, ruling party’s councilor candidate Masum said his supporters confronted Tabith's campaign because it was raising offensive slogans against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“As a result, Awami League activists and locals became agitated and a brawl took place there," he said, and claimed: "But I calmed everyone down soon after.”

However, Darus-Salam police station OC Tofayel Ahamed said: “There was no attack. Both groups confronted each other along a narrow path, and they only shoved and pushed each other for a little while. No one was detained over the incident.”

Tabith claimed that the attack on him and his supporters by Awami League followers was preplanned.

“Before this, my campaign was also barred at Ward 10. Continuation of such incidents at nearby area cannot be a coincidence in any way,” he said.

However, Tabith, son of senior BNP leader Abdul Awal Mintoo, vowed not to withdraw from campaigning in the face of such incidents.

The Election Commission has ordered the returning officer for the DNCC polls, which is now slated for February 1 alongside the Dhaka South City Corporation election, to investigate the attack and submit the report as soon as possible.

The commission’s Senior Secretary Md Alamgir told reporters that the order was given at a meeting in the commission headquarters Tuesday afternoon, after a BNP delegation formally submitted a complaint immediately. 

‘EC deteriorating the situation’

Meanwhile, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir condemned the attack on Tabith, and said Awami League was exercising muscle power in order to manipulate the election and its results.

In a statement, he said: “The attack on BNP candidate Tabith Awal’s peaceful campaign is preplanned and cowardly. In order to make the election one-sided to help the Awami League candidate win, ruling party men are attacking the campaigns of BNP candidates every day.”

The senior BNP leader also urged the Election Commission to make the election environment fair and ensure a level playing field.

Tabith also blamed the commission for deteriorating the whole campaigning situation itself.

“It’s been proved to everyone that the Election Commission is allowing the situation to deteriorate, by taking no control of it,” he alleged. “The Election Commission took no steps earlier despite our complaints and that’s why the situation is worsening.”

The BNP mayor runner added: “Magistrate and police officials were present [during the attack] while the incident was live-streamed on social media.

“If the Election Commission waits to get a written complain through bureaucratic process [before taking action], then I will say that the matter unfortunate and dangerous.”