Dhaka, Bangladesh
Abbas, Khokon, BNP men come under attack

Abbas, Khokon, BNP men come under attack

BNP candidate for Dhaka-8 constituency Mirza Abbas and his supporters came under attack allegedly by ruling party activists during his electioneering at Segunbagicha in the city on Saturday. A group of 30-40 ruling party activists wielding rods and sticks attacked Mirza Abbas and his supporters near Segunbagicha kitchen market around 12pm, the BNP leader's media coordinator, Nahid Nazrul, told UNB. He said at least 60 people were injured in the attack. Nazrul said police arrested some injured BNP activists instead of resisting the attackers. Later, at a press conference at his Shahjahanpur residence, Abbas said, "I could have died had I not been saved by our leaders and activists during the attack." He strongly condemned and protested the attack. The BNP leader said the 'cadres' of Jubo League and Chhatra League under the protection of police attacked him and his supporters during the election campaign at Segunbagicha. "They beat my leaders and activists mercilessly with rods and sticks, leaving at least 60 of them injured." He said a number of his supporters were admitted to a hospital with serious injuries. Before the campaign, Abbas said he sent separate letters to Ramna and Shahbagh police stations to ensure his security during the campaign. "But, they didn't take any step in this regard." Even he requested two police officials to prevent the attackers, but they did not act, said the BNP candidate. Abbas said he will continue to conduct campaign braving the attacks and repressions. Meanwhile, BNP candidate for Noakhali-1 constituency Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon and three other party activists reportedly suffered bullet wounds and 36 others were injured in a clash between Awami League and BNP men in Sonaimuri municipality on Saturday afternoon. Witnesses said BNP leaders and activists, led by Khokon, party joint secretary general and general secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association, were returning after holding a rally at the Sonaimuri High School ground in the afternoon. When they reached Sonaimur Bazar area, a group of Awami League leaders and activists swooped on them around 4:30pm, leading to a clash. At one stage, police and the ruling party men opened fire on the BNP leaders and activists, leaving at least 40 people, including four with bullets, injured, the witnesses said. The injured were taken to Noakhali General Hospital where Dr Syed Ahmed Azim, a residential medical officer of the hospital, confirmed that Khokon sustained bullet wounds. Sonaimuri upazila BNP president Motahar Hossain Manik claimed that when they reached the Sonaimuri Bazar area after their rally, a group of Awami League leaders and activists swooped on them and opened fire on them. Later, police joined the ruling party men, he alleged. However, upazila AL general secretary Monirul Islam Baker claimed that BNP men attacked their party leaders and activists without any provocation and vandalised several shops. "There's no attack or firing from our side." Police super of the district Elias Sharif said a chase and counter-chase took place between the supporters of Awami League and BNP. He said police fired several shots in the air to bring the situation under control. The police super also said they were investigating the incident. Inspector (investigation) of Sonaimuri Police Station Emdadul Haque said a group of BNP leaders and activists, led by Khokon, brought out a procession in the area with sticks after Maghrib prayers. At one stage, they threw brick chips at police, resorted to vandalism and exploded several crude bombs, he said. Asked about the bullet injury the BNP candidate received, the police official claimed that there was no firing. "He might have hurt himself by crude bomb splinters," he said. Meanwhile, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press conference in the capital claimed that policemen, led by officer-in-charge of Sonaimuri Police Station Abdul Mazid, opened fire on BNP leaders and activists from both sides - front and back - while they were electioneering in Sonaimuri Bazar area, leaving 30-35 party men, including Khokon, wounded by bullets. He also claimed that the OC himself shot the BNP candidate in a bid to 'kill' him. Of the injured, the condition of one, identified as Rubel, is stated to be critical, Rizvi said, adding that Sonaimuri municipality JCD vice-president Raju got his legs fractured in the attack. (Inputs taken from agencies)

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