At least 15 BNP leaders and activists including general secretary of Khulna chapter Jubo Dal sustained bullet injuries, in police firing during a clash with BNP over holding a pre-scheduled rally of the party in front of Khulna Press Club in the city on Friday afternoon, claimed BNP.
Twenty more people were also injured in the attacks by the police, claimed Shafiqul Islam Tuhin, member secretary of Khulna Metropolitan Unit BNP.
“At least 15 party men received bullet injuries as police fired on them without any instigation,” he claimed.
The bullet-hit included district Jubo Dal General Secretary Ebaidul Hoque Rubayed, Chhatra Dal’ former Convenor Ashiqur Rahman Oni, City College Member Secretary Arif Mollah Turjo, Sadar Thana member Shahil, Chhatra Dal’s former Joint Convenor Abdullah Kimiah Sadat, Jubo Dal leader Jahidur Rahman and a ward-level leader Mujibur Rahman from Senhati union of Dighlia upazila, among others.
Images of injuries suffered by the BNP men suggest police used rubber bullets, not live ammunition.
Moreover, 10 people were detained from the rally venue, he said, adding that the bullet-hit and injured were admitted to several hospitals of the city.
The BNP leader alleged that police opened fire on them, charged batons and used teargas to spoil the rally without any provocation.
Echoing Tuhin, Khulna Metropolitan unit BNP Member Mizanur Rahman Milton said police suddenly attacked them without any provocation.
Some 25 to 30 party men including its Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, central leader Azizul Bari Helal and Annidra Islam Amit were stranded inside the press club during the police attack, he said.
Md Tajul Islam, deputy commissioner (South) of Khulna Metropolitan Police (KMP), said, “We were forced to use teargas when the BNP men threw brickbats targeting us without any pretext.”
He said they detained 10 BNP men from the spot and some cops were injured in the incident.
An additional number of the law enforcing agencies were deployed to avert any unexpected incident, he said, adding that the situation was now under their control.
Denying the allegations, Khulna Sadar police station’s Officer-in-Charge Hasan Al Mamun said the BNP men were trying to hold a rally without permission and carried out an attack on them.
Asked about the firing on BNP men, he avoided making a comment on this issue.
BNP insiders said there was a scheduled rally in front of the Press Club on Friday afternoon to press home their 10-point demand including resignation of the government, stoppage of fake cases and mass arrest and protest of the government’s corruption among others.
The party men from different areas of the district and city started gathering at the venue at noon. A clash broke out when police obstructed a procession heading towards the rally venue, they said.