A man was killed and nearly 100 people were injured reportedly during a clash between Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists and the police at Naya Paltan area in capital city Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon.
The deceased was identified as Mokbul Hossain, 30, a passer-by.
Inspector Bachchu Mia, In-charge of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital police outpost, confirmed that the man died at the hospital, adding that the body bore multiple pellet injuries.
The clash picked up once again after a brief pause although the arrival of the SWAT team managed to drive out BNP men for a while from the Naya Paltan area, where the party’s leaders and activists started gathering since morning ahead of the December 10 rally.
Meanwhile, police detained several BNP leaders and activists, including BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Publicity Secretary Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie, and Swechchhasebak Dal General Secretary Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Jewel.
Defying Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) directives stating that the party cannot hold their rally on busy Dhaka streets, hundreds of BNP men were seen chanting slogans with banners in hand in front of their party headquarters.
However, around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the police fired teargas shells and shotgun pellets to disperse the BNP men while the party activists and supporters retaliated by hurling brick chips at the police.
When asked, DMP Assistant Commissioner (Motijheel zone), Golam Ruhani told The Business Standard that BNP men were repeatedly asked to leave the roads but they denied it.
Later, police were forced to take action, he added. Till 4 p.m., clashes reached the city’s Nightingale intersection through Fakirapul. Police have now cordoned off the BNP office as the clash scattered to surrounding alleys.
Earlier, police deployed several armoured vehicles, prison vans and additional striking force in the Naya Paltan area at 12 p.m.
Earlier, addressing the agitated party men and media, BNP Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas said that the government should offer an acceptable alternative for their December 10 rally.
“If the government does not give an acceptable alternative, then our rally will be held in Naya Paltan,” Abbas added.