Vol. 5 Num 20 Wed. June 16, 2004  
Front Page

20 hurt in attacks on Bikalpa procession

At least 20 people, 10 of them women, were wounded yesterday when their campaign procession supporting Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) candidate Major (retired) Abdul Mannan for Dhaka-10 by-election came under attack twice at Railway Colony near the Police Headquarters.

The attackers, who were chanting 'paddy sheaf', the election symbol of ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), also damaged a microbus of the Mannan camp, witnesses said.

As police remained inactive during the attack, Abdul Mannan was forced to take shelter in a dormitory of Dhaka University while BDB leader Mahi B Chowdhury in the Police Headquarters, witnesses continued.

Locals said Abdul Mannan started his scheduled mass contact programme in No. 56 ward by bringing out a procession yesterday morning. More than 500 BDB activists including about 100 women participated in the procession.

Sources said as soon as the procession entered the Railway Colony, opposite to the Police Headquarters, reportedly 50 to 60 supporters of local ward commissioner armed with firearms, knives and hockey sticks ringed the procession and indiscriminately beat the BDB processionists.

The BDB supporters initially tried to put up a resistance but later gave in and fled the scene as the attackers were wielding firearms.

The attackers pelted Abdul Mannan with stones. He got into a vehicle and took shelter in Shahidullah Hall of Dhaka University.

The dispersed BDB workers, however, soon assembled again on the road near the Railway Colony after the attackers had gone away. Shortly afterwards, Mahi B Chowdhury joined them.

As they were shifting the women activists from the scene in a microbus, all of a sudden the attackers again swooped on them. They assaulted some women and damaged the microbus. They again chased Mahi B Chowdhury and forced him to run for shelter in the police headquarters. The policemen closed the headquarters gate after he entered there. Later, Abdul Mannan also went to the Police Headquarters.

After the second attack additional police force reached the spot and ordered the attackers to leave the place and at one stage picked up three--Noor Mohammad, Moazzem and Bellal--from there.

As normalcy returned, Abdul Mannan and Mahi reorganised the procession and marched towards Bangabazar where they held a wayside rally.

While addressing the rally Abdul Mannan protested the attack on his procession and said none would ever be able to make him deviate from fighting for the people's cause.

The rally was also addressed by Mahi B Chowdhury.