DHAKA: A Juba Dal leader died on fight while at least 60 people were injured and 55 held as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Wednesday staged countrywide human-chain demonstrations amid obstruction by law-enforcers at different places.
In Naogaon, Jubo Dal leader Enamul Haq Omar, 45, died on flight as police broke BNP’s human chain by baton charge and gave the activists a hot chase in the district town.
Omar was the general secretary of Raninagar thana Jubo Dal, the former ruling party’s youth front.
Police, however, claimed Omar died from “excessive heat” during the street demonstration, part of the party’s nationwide protest programme against alleged “repressive” actions following their June 27 hartal.
“Being chased, Omar fell down on the road. He was rushed to Naogaon Hospital where the duty doctor declared him dead,” the district unit of BNP said.
General Secretary of district BNP Zahidul Islam Dholu told banglanews24.com.bd that Omar came to the district town from Raninagar to participate in the peaceful party programme. “But he died while fleeing as police charged baton,” he said.
Naogaon police super Mofazzal Hossain said the Jubo Dal leader did not die due to police chase. He might have died from scorching heat.
After the day’s protest programme, BNP’s Senior Joint-Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir bitterly criticized what he said ‘undemocratic behaviour’ by the government to foil the demonstrations.
He said, “We wanted to form human chain in peaceful way. But police did not allow us to demonstrate which is a democratic right. The attitude of the government is autocratic,” he said.
The main scene of brawls in the capital was the National Press Club premises where pushing and shoving between police and protestors took place for some time, witnesses said.
Police picked up 50 party activists from the capital alone while the rest five in the port city of Chittagong.
Within a few minutes of the one-hour demo from 11am, BNP Secretary-General Khandakar Delwar Hossain collapsed to the ground in front of the press club during scuffles between police and protesters. He was taken to the nearby Islami Bank hospital after he fell sick a second time at Bijoynagar on way to their Nayapaltan party central office.
“Police took a stubborn position in front of the National Press Club, hemming in the BNP leaders and activities inside the club. Later, the protesters burst out through police cordons,” says a firsthand report.
At one stage, they all sat down on the street for squatting. Law-enforcers and protesters also exchanged heated words at the time.
During the demo, police held at least 50 activists in different areas of the capital, sources said.
The opposition BNP staged the human-chain demo in protest against the arrests and “repression” on party leaders and workers during the June 27 dawn-to-dusk hartal, part of an anti-government movement they are trying to build up on various issues.
Staff correspondent of banglanews24.com.bd from Chittagong informed that police held 5 BNP activists in different areas of the port city.
In Naogaon, police obstructed the BNP demonstrators at the Naogaon Bridge crossing. Police also chased and charged baton on the BNP activists to disperse them.
The district BNP brought out a procession in protest against the police attack and death of Omar.
In Rajshahi, police intercepted BNP and its front organizations while staging demonstrations at Saheb Bazar zero point.
Facing the bar, the opposition leaders and activists brought out a protest procession that terminated at Bhubon Mohan Park where they held a rally.
Former Rajshahi Mayor and City BNP President Mizanur Rahman Minu and General Secretary Shafiqul Huq Milon addressed the gathering.
Narayanganj correspondent adds: At least 50 BNP activists received injuries as police charged baton on a procession at about 11am near the Gate no.2 of the district town.
In Chapainawabganj, at least 10 BNP activists were injured as police used truncheons to break up their human chain.
BDST: 20:00 HRS, JULY 7, 2010.