Dhaka, Dec 24– At least 132 people, including three BNP candidates, were injured in pre-election violence in Noakhali, Shariatpur, Laxmipur, Natore, Chandpur, Narsingdi, Sherpur, Barishal and Khulna districts on Monday.
In Noakhali, two vehicles of BNP standing committee member and candidate for Noakhali-5 Barrister Moudud Ahmed were vandalized allegedly by Awami League men in Natun Bazar area of Companiganj upazila in the morning, leaving at least five people injured.
Talking to UNB, Moudud said the ruling party men swooped on the vehicle around 11 am in a bid to ‘kill’ him.
In Shariatpur, BNP contestant for Shariatpur-3 constituency Mia Nuruddin Apu and 30 of his followers were injured as local Awami League, Jubo League and Chhatra League men allegedly attacked his election campaign in Gosairhat upazila in the morning.
Nuruddin who suffered injuries in the head was sent to Dhaka for better treatment.
As part of their election campaign, the BNP contender and his supporters brought out a procession in the Upazila headquarters around 11 am.
As soon as the procession got close to upazila Muktijoddha Bhaban, the ruling party men swooped on it.
Asma Ul Hosna, general secretary of district Mahila Dal, alleged that they even could not send the injured to hospital as the Awami League leaders and activists took positions at different points to launch fresh attacks on them.
Officer-in-charge of Gosairhat Police Station Selim Reza said a clash took place between the supporters of Awami League and BNP in the morning.
In Laxmipur, some 30 people, including BNP candidate for Laxmipur–3 constituency Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anee and three journalists, were injured in a clash between the ruling party and BNP men in Shantirhat Bazar area of Sadar Upazila.
Witnesses said Anee along with his supporters was campaigning around 11 am when local Awami League men equipped with sticks and stones swooped on them.
The attack led to a clash between the two groups when a chase and counter-chase took place, injuring at least 30 people.
The injured, including the BNP candidate, were taken to Sadar Hospital.
Anee alleged that the AL men attacked them in presence of law enforcers but they did not take any action.
Meanwhile, Daserhat police investigation camp in-charge Md Matin said police rushed in and fired several shots in the air to control the situation.
While controlling the violence, two police members were also injured, he said.
In Chandpur, a procession of BNP candidate for Chandpur-3 parliamentary seat Sheikh Farid Ahmed Manik was attacked in Begum Mosque area of Sadar upazila in the morning, injuring 10 people.
Witnesses said when AL men attacked the supporters of Manik around 11:30 am while they were returning from Sadar Police Station, which triggered a clash between them.
During the agitation, the ruling party activists allegedly vandalised the entrance of Manik’s house.
Manik alleged that police were arresting important party leaders.
In the morning, police arrested chief convener of his election conducting committee- Selim Ullah, he said, adding that they went to the police station to get him released.
In Narsingdi, the campaign of Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, BNP standing Committee member and candidate for Narsingdi-2 constituency, was attacked at the office of the assistant returning officer in Palash Upazila, leaving at least five people injured.
The BNP leader alleged that they were going to the election officer for lodging a complaint after some AL men blocked their way for attending a pre-scheduled meeting at Parulia intersection in the upazila.
The ruling party men armed with local weapons attacked them when they were on the staircase of the assistant returning officer’s office.
The injured were taken to Upazila Health Complex while Bahadur Bhuiyan Milton, a personal assistant of Dr Moyeen Khan, was sent to the capital.
Officer-in-charge of Palash Police Station Makbul Hossain said some miscreants attacked the BNP contestant’s supporters.
In Sherpur, the car of BNP candidate for Sherpur -1 constituency Sansila Jebrin was vandalised at Ghughukandi of Sadar upazila while that of Dr Omi, daughter of AL candidate in the parliamentary seat Atiur Rahman Atik at Lasmanpur.
The BNP candidate alleged that AL men equipped with sticks attacked her car around 3:30 pm while she was going to Betmari and Ghughurakandi unions for electioneering, injuring her and several of her supporters.
The car of Dr Omi was attacked around 4 pm while she was going to the electoral area of her father for electioneering. A motorcycle was also torched.
Officer-in-charge of Sherpur Police Station Md Nazrul Islam said they detained 10 people for interrogation.
In Barishal, at least 16 leaders and activists of Awami League were injured as supporters of local BNP candidate for Barishal-2 Sarfuddin Ahmed Santu reportedly fired gunshots on them at the bus stand and attacked them again at Narayanpur in Banaripara Upazila.
Former BCL leader Zakir Hossain claimed that they were campaigning in the bus stand area when Santu’s supporters swooped on them and fired 16-17 rounds of bullets, injuring eight of them.
The BNP men also attacked an AL election office at Narayanpur and vandalised five motorcycles, leaving eight more people injured.
However, BNP leaders denied the allegation, saying AL men attacked them that left five of their activists injured.
In Khulna, 15 people were injured when AL men reportedly attacked the campaign of BNP candidate for Khulna-3 constituency Rakibul Islam Bakul at Khalishpur in the city around 1:30 pm.
Witnesses said AL men attacked Bakul and his supporters when they went out of a local mosque after saying their Zohr prayers. – UNB
After being attacked reportedly by the supporters of his opponents, BNP candidate for Noakhali-5 seat Moudud Ahmed on Monday decided not to carry out any electioneering until his security is ensured, another UNB report said.
“I’ve decided to withdraw myself from election campaign after being subjected to a serious attack today (Monday),” he told UNB over the phone.
Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, said he already informed the returning officer and army officials here about the incident. “I told them I won’t carry out electioneering until adequate security for my life is ensured.”
Narrating the attack on him, the BNP leader said he was going to carry out election campaign at Natunbazar around 11 am. “As my motorcade reached the bazaar area, a group of ruling party activists equipped with rods and sticks attacked us and starting vandalising my car and another vehicle of my motorcade. They badly damaged the two vehicles.”
He alleged that he could have died the way the ruling party men attacked his vehicle. “Allah saved me, but my five followers were injured badly. “It’s a matter of wonder they attacked a candidate like me.”
Moudud said the ruling party activists also attacked his supporters at Chaprashirhat, leaving many of them injured. “After such attacks, I returned home stopping electioneering as my life is not safe.”