Local Awami League men have urged the administration to take necessary steps against the ones responsible for the attacks
The homes of Awami League leaders and activists have been torched and vandalized in two upazilas of Natore after the results of the first phase of the Upazila Parishad Election.
After losing to independent candidates in two upazilas, Bagatipara and Gurudaspur, the Awami League nominated candidates and their supporters – along with local party members, leaders and activists – have allegedly been beaten, threatened and harassed by the opposition men.
As they demanded justice and proper investigation with retribution for the people responsible, these attacks have struck a sense of fear and anger among local Awami League supporters and activists.
Bagatipara upazila Awami League nominated candidate Sekander Ali and fellow victims have claimed that the people responsible for such attacks are the supporters of his counterpart, independent candidate Ohidul Islam Gokul, who defeated him in the recent upazila polls.
Expressing his anger, the defeated Awami League candidate Sekander Ali said:
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina nominated me from this upazila. Chairmen of five unions of the upazila, along with local Juba League and Chhatra League members, worked with me in this election and they all have fallen victim to the attacks led by Ohidul and his supporters. They cannot even come out of their houses.”
"Ohidul's supporters have attacked and vandalized the upazila Awami League's Office Secretary Jamilur Rahman's shop at Tamaltala area. They also beat up his employees. They went to Jamilur's house and threatened his wife," he said.
Responding to another question, Sekander said: "I have informed the local police station, upazila executive officer and district Awami League about the proceedings.
I strongly condemn these attacks on our party members and leaders. I demand exemplary punishment and party action against those who are guilty through proper investigation."
In the district’s Gurudaspur upazila, Awami League nominated candidate Zahidul Islam and his supporters lost to independent candidate Anowar Hossain, who is closely affiliated with the local MP, and Zahidul is facing the same wrath from the opposition.
When contacted, Zahidul said: "Independent candidate Anowar is the adopted son of the local lawmaker Abdul Kuddus. He has used this connection of his to influence and frighten the voters, forcing them to vote for Anowar.”
"This has led to a very fearful environment in the upazila, especially for those who supported and worked for the boat symbol," he said.
"This defeat is surely a defeat for our premier, for our party," he claimed.
When asked for comments regarding this matter, the Singra upazila Awami League nominated candidate Shafiqul Islam Shafiq, who was victorious in Sunday's upazila polls, said: "Local lawmaker and State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak has been indirectly instigating local Awami League leaders and activists to oppose the boat symbol.”
"Senior leaders and activists of the upazila cannot accept this defeat. Even the local people are quite unhappy about the whole situation,” he said.
"The people responsible need to be brought under justice. We won't retaliate fire with fire. We want a proper solution to this with the help of local law enforcement agencies and administration,” he said.
"I hope necessary steps will be taken by the administration, as well as our party high command, against those who directly violated party directives and now are attacking the people who worked for the candidate nominated by the party," he added.
When asked about the attacks and the position of law enforcement agencies, Bagatipara police station Officer-in-Charge Sirajul Islam said: "Two incidents of attacks took place right after the results were announced. Two separate cases have been filed regarding the matter.”
"However, things are quite normal now and everything is under control. We will show zero tolerance in cases of post-polls violence," he said.
"Necessary steps will be taken upon further investigation," he added.