Multiple injured on both sides; Planning Division secretary’s car vandalized
A large number of BNP leaders and activists, while visiting party founder Ziaur Rahman's grave, clashed with police in front of Chandrima Udyan in Dhaka city on Tuesday.
The clash broke out around 10:30am when the newly-formed convening committees of BNP's Dhaka city north and south units went to place wreaths at Zia’s grave in the park, which is situated near the parliament and the prime minister’s official residence, reports UNB.
Witnesses said some leaders and activists, including Aminul Haque, member secretary of the BNP's Metropolitan North Committee and a former national team footballer, gathered at the park around 10:45am when the police prevented them from going inside.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Tejgaon Division Deputy Commissioner Md Shahidullah claimed that the BNP did not take permission to hold such a large gathering.
However, BNP's Metropolitan North Committee Member Secretary Aminul Haque told reporters that they informed the police about their program.
Aminul said: "We've come here to offer fateha at Ziaur Rahman's grave. But the police are not allowing us to stay there. At one point, police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets on us."
According to witnesses and sources, BNP informed the police that a few senior leaders of the new committee would be placing wreaths but did not seek permission.
Meanwhile, police observed hundreds of activists gathering at a point at Ziaur Rahman's grave, and interrupted after which BNP activists reportedly became hyper.
Police were trying to say such a large gathering was not permissible amid the pandemic, while the BNP leaders reportedly argued leading to an altercation between both sides.
The law enforcers also engaged in an argument with Aminul. At one stage, the police charged batons on them and fired teargas shells.
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Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal alleged that the BNP leaders and activists did not follow health guidelines and threw brick chips at the police.
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station OC Jane Alam Munsi said: "The BNP activists were entering the Trade Fair ground which they were not allowed to do. As there was an internal feud among BNP groups over forming the new committees, they started throwing brickbats on the police."
Later, police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets on them.
At least 10 police officials were also injured in the clash, said the OC. A police officer named Shahidul Islam, 22, was injured and was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) by police constable Nazmul Hasan.
He is now undergoing treatment at the hospital.
BNP leaders said at least 15-20 of their men were also injured.
Among those injured with rubber bullets Aminul Islam, Tejgaon police station BNP Organizing Secretary Md Moniruzzaman Togor, 45, and activist Abul Kalam Azad, 62, took treatment at DMCH.
After the clash, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir visited the spot.
He told the journalists that this government has completely gotten alienated from people. “That is why they want to suppress this democratic movement by torturing us by the police.”
"We believe this government can be defeated through a united movement of people. We hope our new committees will lead the movement," Fakhrul added.
He said: "We strongly condemn these repressive acts by the government and the police."
Police alleged the BNP men were convening at the park without permission, which the party has rejected.
Meanwhile, some BNP men reportedly attacked the car of Planning Division Secretary Mohammad Jainul Bari near the park around 11am, while he was going to the office, media reports said.
According to division sources, the front and rear windows of the car were smashed during the attack.
However, no one was injured. The secretary had taken shelter in the nearby police box at the time.