The BNP has blamed the police and Awami League supporters for the scuffle during its Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s tribute to the language martyrs.
BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi also alleged that police had obstructed Khaleda’s motorcade several times on her way to the Central Shaheed Minar. He alleged police assaulted BNP leaders and activists waiting near the Shaheed Minar in the early hours of Sunday.
“At least 50 were seriously injured in the attack,” he claimed at a media conference. He condemned the alleged police barricade around the BNP chief’s motorcade and the attack on the party’s leaders and activists.
According to media reports, Dhaka University teachers, led by Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique, went forward to welcome Khaleda when she reached the Shaheed Minar after Saturday midnight.
Professor Md Ziaur Rahman of the criminology department fell down when the BNP leaders and activists pushed towards the Shaheed Minar.
Volunteers in charge of controlling the crowd there barred the BNP leaders and activists when they followed Khaleda to the main base of the Minar. The BNP leaders and activists then reportedly attacked them. Several volunteers, including Rover Scouts Md Tansir Rabbi Badhan, Riyaz and Zubayer, were injured.
Zubayer alleged the BNP leaders and activists got on the Shaheed Minar with their shoes on. TV footage showed some BNP leaders and activists threatening the volunteers with shoes in their hands.
Rizvi refuted the allegations, saying the TV stations, owned by ‘people dear to the government’, ran ‘false and imaginative’ reports to ‘malign the BNP’.
Asked who had got on the Shaheed Minar with shoes on, he said, “The Dhaka University authorities and Awami League affiliates were controlling the crowd at the Shaheed Minar. No one other than them can do it.”
The BNP joint secretary general said there was no reason for anyone to think that only the Awami League had respect for the Language Movement. Many who took part in the Language Movement support the BNP, he claimed.
He also alleged that the possible BNP candidates of the upcoming Union Parishad elections were facing obstruction in collecting and submitting nomination papers at several places, agencies report.