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Dhaka Tribune

Bogra schoolchildren fall ill as police fire tear gas during clash with BNP

Twenty-seven students had to be hospitalized

Update : 18 Jul 2023, 11:25 PM

During a clash between BNP leaders and police in Bogra on Tuesday, nearly 50 female students of the city's Yakubia Girls High School fell ill due to panic and respiratory distress caused by the tear gas shells and shots fired by cops.

Among them, 27 were admitted to Mohammad Ali District Hospital for treatment, said Shafique Amin Kazal, a resident physician at the hospital.

Of them, five students were under observation for two hours and another 22 students for four hours, before being released into the care of their guardians, he said. 

In another incident, Jumira Zubair, 8, a second-grader, sustained severe head injuries when a stone hurled from the BNP's march broke the window of her school bus belonging to Bogra Cantonment Public School and College.

Tuesday's clash erupted when police obstructed the BNP's march to press home its one-point demand – the fall of the Awami League government. 

As the confrontation and chase-counter chase escalated near Yakubia Girls High School, police took measures to disperse the crowd, deploying tear gas, shotgun fire and rubber bullets. 

BNP, Awami League trade blame

Meanwhile, the BNP claimed that at least 200 of its leaders and activists were injured due to police firing and assault.

Bogra BNP President Rezaul Karim Badsha, in a press conference in the evening, said police are providing shelter and protection to a particular group.

He accused them of attacking their peaceful march undemocratically.

“Police indiscriminately fired, hurled tear gas shells and charged batons at our party workers, injuring more than 200 of our leaders,” said Badsha, who is also mayor of Bogra municipality. 

“Exemplary punishment should be ensured for those involved in the attack on our leaders and making schoolchildren ill,” he demanded. 

The Bogra mayor further argued that no elections should take place under this government and that there is no alternative to holding elections under a caretaker government. 

On the other hand, Bogra Awami League President Mojibar Rahman Mojnu and General Secretary Ragebul Ahsan Ripu MP, in a statement, claimed that the BNP disrupted the peace of Bogra by conducting terrorist activities in the name of marches.

They accused the BNP of attacking police officers stationed in front of Yakubia Girls High School with homemade weapons and detonating cocktails. 

“Not only has this action disturbed the environment of the school, but the smoke from the cocktails has also caused injuries to several students who had to receive treatment at Mohammad Ali District Hospital,” they said. 

They pointed out that the BNP's attack on police officers was a clear demonstration of their intention to create terror and anarchy in the country. 

“The BNP is not interested in participating in any elections, but only intends to obstruct the path to a fair election,” they said. 

They strongly condemned and expressed outrage over the incidents of attacks on police, school buses and police encampments. 

They called on the BNP to abandon the path of conflict, anarchy and terrorism and participate in the upcoming national parliamentary elections.

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