Violence in Dholaikhal: how things transpired

It was around 11 in the morning. Hundreds of BNP leaders and activists My News Bangladeshted to gather on one side of the road at Dholaikhal in Old Dhaka to stage a sit-in programme. Many were carrying sticks and soon My News Bangladeshted shouting anti-government slogans.

The BNP was supposed to hold the programme at Nayabazar. However, Awami League leaders and activists took position on the spot and stayed there since morning. A large number of police personnel were also deployed there.

Around 11:30am, police tried to disperse BNP leaders and activists from Dholaikhal. At first, BNP supporters retreated due to police chase, but later they regrouped in the area. Many were also seen chasing law enforcers.

This chase and counter-chase eventually led to a clash between police and BNP members.

The clash continued for around 45 minutes, which left several BNP men injured.

BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, senior joint secretary-general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Dhaka divisional joint organising secretary Abdus Salam, and other leaders were present at the spot.

They tried to dissuade the leaders and workers but to no avail.

Gayeshwar was injured in the clash, and law enforcers took him inside a shop. He was later taken away in a police van.

Police also detained Abdus Salam from the spot.

When asked where Gayeshwar was being taken, police officials said they were taking him for treatment.

According to eyewitnesses, police beat up Gayeshwar with sticks. At one point, he fell to the ground.

By 12:30pm, police removed BNP leaders and activists from Dholaikhal.

Meanwhile, around an hour later, leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League marched there with sticks in presence of law enforcers, said eyewitnesses.

Around 1:15pm, Abu Ahmed Mannafi, president of Dhaka city south AL, brought out a procession with a large number of leaders and activists at Dholaikhal intersection.

They stayed there for a while and shouted slogans against BNP and later left the place.

A large number of law enforcers were seen at Dholaikhal intersection and its adjacent Roysaheb Bazar intersection till 2:30pm. Police armoured vehicles, including riot cars and APPs, were seen plying the roads.

All the shops in the area were closed during the clashes. There were countless brickbats on the streets. A tense situation prevailed in the area and locals were in panic.

Jafar Hossain, deputy commissioner of Lalbagh zone of DMP, said, “We have deployed forces since the morning to maintain peace and order in the area.”

Around 4:30pm, while filing this report, situation was normal throughout Dholaikhal area.

Speaking at a huge rally at the city’s Nayapaltan yesterday, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced sit-ins at all important entry points of the capital for today to press home the party’s one-point demand.

The BNP had scheduled to observe sit-ins from 11:00am to 4:00pm.

As per the party’s plan, Dhaka north city BNP is supposed stage sit-ins in front of Uttara BNS Centre and Gabtoli’s SA Khalek Bus Station while Dhaka south city BNP before the Nayabazar party office and in front of Dania College in Jatrabari.

Later, AL and its youth wing Jubo League announced that they would hold “peace rallies” in Abdullahpur, Tongi, Gabtoli, Aminbazar, Babubazar, Signboard, Kanchpur, Jatrabari and some other entry points of the city from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Amid growing fear of violence, the DMP said it would not allow either of the parties to hold such programmes as there was intelligence that those may cause deterioration in law and order and public suffering.

Following the DMP’s statement, the ruling party backed down on its decision to hold “peace rallies”, but said its leaders and activists would stay alert on the streets.

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