Monday 29, May 2023

1 killed, over 200 injured, Police-BNP clash in 6 dist

Time News Desk: Clashes between police and activists of BNP left one killed in Narayanganj and over 200 others injured in six districts yesterday.

BNP men clashed with law enforcers in Narayanganj, Manikganj, Natore, Netrakona, Sirajganj, and Rangpur. Party activists claimed that police barred them from holding programmes marking the party's 44th founding anniversary.

BNP leaders said Jubo Dal activist Shaon Mahmud, 20, was killed in "police firing" in Narayanganj. Doctors said they found "bullet wounds" on Shaon's body.

Shaon was the son of Shahed Ali of Narayanganj Sadar upazila's Enayetnagar area.

Police claimed that it could not be known immediately how he died.

BNP yesterday announced a two-day programme protesting the killing of Shaon and the attacks on the 44th anniversary programmes across the country.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the fresh programmes while attending a demonstration in front of the party's central office at Naya Paltan in the capital.

The party will arrange Shaon's gayebana namaz-e-janaza after Juma prayers today.

The party will also stage demonstrations across the country on Saturday.

Yesterday's violence comes amid a series of clashes the BNP has had with police and Awami League activists in several districts since August 22, when the party men took to the streets to protest the hike in prices of fuel and daily essentials.

In Narayanganj, the district BNP's acting president Monirul Islam Robi said they brought out a jovial procession marking the party's founding anniversary around 10:30am.

"No sooner had the procession reached the Rail Gate-2 area on Bangabandhu Road, police barred us. As we protested, police started truncheon-charging, firing teargas and bullets," he said.

"Police firing left Shaon dead and at least 50, including me and other top leaders, injured. I am receiving treatment," said Monirul.

Shaon was taken to Narayanganj General Hospital. Sk Farhad, resident medical officer of the hospital, said, "A young man was brought dead to the hospital. There are bullet marks on his body. The body has been kept at the hospital morgue."

He also said another 20 to 25 injured, eight of them with bullet wounds, were brought to the hospital. One of the injured has been sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Narayanganj Additional Superintendent of Police Amir Khasru said BNP men brought out a procession without any prior permission on Bangabandhu Road, one of the busiest roads in the city.

"It created chaos. When we tried to convince them to stop, they threw brick chunks and Molotov cocktails at police. Police also fired teargas canisters and rubber bullets in self defence," he said.

Around 20 police personnel were injured and are undergoing treatment at hospitals, he said.

On the matter of one person being killed in police firing, Amir said, "One person has died. But right now, it can't be said how he died, because they also threw brick chunks and Molotov cocktails. We will let all know after investigation."

Asked how many bullets and teargas canisters were fired, he said, "A lot of bullets and teargas canisters were fired. It will be calculated and notified later."

Locals said when leaders and activists of the district and metropolitan BNP brought out a procession in front of the Ali Ahammed Chunka Library and Auditorium, police stopped them and chased them.

Another procession came out in front of Narayanganj Club in Ukilpara area and went to Rail Gate-2. Police also stopped this procession, locals said.

At one point, BNP men started to throw brick chunks at police. Police also fired rubber bullets, teargas canisters and bullets. Seven to eight vehicles, including four motorcycles, were vandalised, the witnesses said.

Terrified by the clashes, locals fled the area and shopkeepers shut their shops.

Speaking to our Narayanganj correspondent around 1:00pm, Anisur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station, said the situation was brought under control after the clashes.

In Manikganj, around 100 BNP men were allegedly injured and one was hit by a rubber bullet after law enforcers attacked BNP's procession yesterday, claimed Afroza Khan Rita, president of the district unit BNP.

The clash took place in the Khalpara area when police truncheon-charged, fired teargas canisters and rubber bullets at the BNP's procession around 11:00am, she said.

The person hit by the rubber bullet was Fazlul Haque, president of Manikganj Sadar upazila unit BNP. Police arrested three people, including Fazlul after he was shot, she claimed.

However, Manikganj Sadar Police Station's Officer-in-charge Abdur Rouf Sarker said none sustained bullet injuries. He said seven police personnel were injured as BNP men hurled brick chunks at police.

He also said that three people, including Fazlul, were arrested.

In Netrakona, some 50 BNP men and eight members of police were injured in a clash between BNP and police in Chhoto Bazar area in the town yesterday morning.

The party men were gathering in Chhoto Bazar area in the morning for a programme, but police asked them to leave.

When the BNP men declined, police fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters, leaving 50 BNP men injured. Of them, 12 were hit by rubber bullets, claimed BNP leaders. Police said they asked BNP men to leave the road to ease traffic movement.

In Sirajganj, some 20 BNP activists were injured in a clash with police in the town's Nabadwip Pool.

BNP claimed police suddenly attacked the procession without any provocation. Police, however, said they truncheon-charged the activists, fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters to break up a factional clash.

In Rangpur city, 10 people, including seven BNP men and three police personnel, were injured when they clashed in the afternoon.

In Natore, BNP alleged that five of their party men were injured after Chhatra League men attacked them. Local Chhatra League leaders denied the allegations.

[Our correspondents from Narayanganj, Manikganj, Natore, Mymensingh, Pabna and Rangpur contributed to the report]

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