Dhaka Metropolitan Police Thursday baton charged and foiled a procession at Shapla Chattar area at Motijheel in the capital, brought out in protest against the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh.
The procession was brought out by Bangladesh Chhatra and Juba Adhikar Parishad and some Islamist groups. Later, a clash erupted between the participants of the procession and the police, ensuing an hour-long chase and counter chase.
A number of protesters, photojournalists and policemen including Paltan police officer-in-charge Abu Bakar Siddique, were injured in the clash that took place at about 11:30am.
The clash took place as a team of Paltan police, led by Abu Bakar, chased and baton charged the procession from behind while passing the Shapla Chattar intersection.
A group of the protesters fought back and beat OC Abu Bakar. Later, he was rescued by some of the protestors who handed him over to his colleagues. Following the incident, police fired tire gas and bullets to disperse the protesters.
In retaliation, protesters set fire to a roadside furniture used by hawkers for selling their products.
After several gunshots, the police started detaining people. A number of 11 people were detained, including an Islamic preacher named Rafikul Islam Madani, hailed from Netrakona, at the spot. Later he was released.
Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon, leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League allegedly attacked on journalists while covering the a 'Jeyafat' programme, organised in memory of the victims of border killing under the banner 'People of Bangladesh'.
The victim is Abid Hasan Rasel, Dhaka University reporter of Bangla Tribune. According to eyewitnesses, he was severely beaten by BCL leaders and activists with bamboo stick. They also snatched away his mobile phone and press card. Later, Rasel was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. The incident took place at about 5:30pm in front of TSC of DU campus.
BCL president Al Nahiyan Khan Joy and Secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee could not be reached for comments even after repeated attempts as they did not receive the call.
The Bangladesh Chhatra Adhikar Parishad will bring out a procession on Friday if those detained Thursday from Motijheel are not released by the time.
The student body leader and former vice-president of Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) Nurul Haque Nur came up with the announcement during a Facebook live in the evening.
He said the protest will be held at 3pm at Shahbagh intersection in the capital.
Some other left leaning-student organisations brought out a torch procession at the Dhaka University area, demanding immediate release of the detainees and condemning the brutality of police and Chhatra League while attacking journalists and protesters.
Earlier on the day, Bangladesh Juba Odhikar Parishad staged a protest against the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh near Shapla Chattar in Motijheel. Nur and the members of Chhatra Adhikar Parishad also participated in the protest.
At one stage, police baton charged to disperse the protesters and picked up at least 38 activists, claimed Nur.
Later Nur also claimed that the police, Chhatra League, Juba League have launched a sudden attack on their peaceful program from behind.
Meanwhile, Faruk Hasan, joint convener of the Bangladesh Chhatra Adhikar Parishad, alleged that at least 43 people were injured and 38 were arrested.
He made the allegation at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, after visiting the injured leaders and activists at the Gonoshasthaya Hospital in the capital.
Farooq Hasan said, "We marched peacefully from Muktangan. When we were marching towards Shapla Chattar in Motijheel, we saw that the police along with Chhatra League and Juba League activists were getting ready with weapons to attack. When our procession was passing the Shapla Chattar intersection, they attacked us from behind. We strongly condemn this heinous attack."
"If the detainees are not released within 24 hours, they will call a protest procession on Friday afternoon," he said.
The student leader called on citizens across the country to take to the streets demanding cancellation of Narendra Modi's visit.