Dhaka, Feb 21 (Just News): More than 400 Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders and activists were injured and 70 were arrested as the police unleashed attacks on countrywide protest rallies in a number of districts on Tuesday.
On the last day of the three-day protests, the party held rallies in metropolitan cities except Dhaka and district headquarters across the country for the release of BNP Khaleda Zia, jailed for five years in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case by a Dhaka special judge’s court on February 8.
BNP would hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan or Nayapaltan in Dhaka on February 22.
Party leaders said that the next programme might be announced from the rally in Dhaka and the programmes might include countrywide leaflet distribution and public meeting in district headquarters.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a briefing at the party central office alleged that police opened fire on the protest procession in Faridpur, where over 100 leaders and activists were injured and 11 were arrested.
Police attacked journalists also, he said.
Rizvi alleged that more than 200 leaders and activists were injured in police firing in Habiganj and over 100 were injured in police baton charge in Munshiganj.
The BNP leader claimed that more than 4,800 leaders and activists had been arrested across the country since January 30.
He expressed hope that they would get police permission to hold rally in Dhaka on Thursday.
In Sylhet at least 20 BNP leaders and activists sustained injuries in police firing in Habiganj. Three BNP activists were arrested, police officials said.
Witnesses said that BNP leaders and activists led by the district unit general secretary GK Gaus, also the Habiganj municipal mayor, brought out a procession from its office at Shayestha Nagar.
A huge police contingent, stationed there, resisted the procession immediately when the mayor locked in a heated altercation with the cops.
At one stage, the police insulted the mayor, triggering a clash.
The police fired shotgun bullets, leaving more than 20 injured, the witnesses said.
GK Gaus claimed that the cops started torturing BNP leaders and activists without any provocation and assaulted him too.
Habiganj sadar police officer-in-charge Yasinul Haque said that they tried to keep the situation calm, but the activists became aggressive forcing them to fire 54 rubber bullets to disperse them.
‘Three of the protesters were detained from the spot,’ the police officer.
Habiganj additional superintendent of police Md Ayatunnabi said that the protesters attacked cops at first and then the cops charged the attackers to disperse them.
‘The mayor might sustain any hit in the chaotic situation, but it was not intentional,’ he claimed.
In Munshiganj police foiled BNP’s procession while leaders and activists led by its district president Abdul Hye tried to bring out the procession from the party office.
Ten leaders and activists were injured.
According to Faridpur correspondent, 30 people, including Kaler Kantha district correspondent Nirmalendu Chakravarty, were injured in police baton charge and firing on a procession led by Faridpur division BNP organising secretary Shama Obayed in super market area in the district town.
Police arrested 20 people.
BNP held protest rally and processions across the country, including in Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal and Narayanganj.
After Khaleda Zia was sent to erstwhile Dhaka Central Jail in Old Dhaka on February 8, BNP staged countrywide demonstration in February 9-10 in the first phase, countrywide human chain, sit-in and token hunger strike in the second phase and mass signature campaign, submission of memorandum to deputy commissioners and protest rallies in the third phase of the protests for her release.