BNP activists clashed with law enforcers and with ruling Awami League men across the country over the verdict of party chairperson Khaleda Zia on Thursday.
At least 10 people were injured, several vehicles damaged, and a train came under arson attack during the clashes before and after the verdict.
Law enforcers arrested nearly 300 leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party on the day of Khaleda Zia’s verdict. As many as 3,300 leaders and activists have so far been arrested centring the verdict since 30 January.
The law enforcement detained BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s special assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Bishwas from the capital and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) president Rajib Ahsan and BNP Chittagong city unit president Shahadat Hossain in the port city on Thursday.
Most public and private transport kept off city roads during the day, while major roads and highways across the country were also free of traffic.
In Dhaka city, AL activists locked in clashes with BNP activists escorting Khaleda Zia to a makeshift court in Bakshibazar of the capital.
As the former prime minister reached the Moghbazar crossing, several hundreds of BNP activists joined her motorcade. Just as the motorcade crossed the Moghbazar crossing, stones were hurled on it from one side of the road. BNP activists retaliated and clashes ensued.
Clashes also took place in Bakshibazar, Polashi and Chankharpool areas of the capital.
In Sylhet, at least three people were reportedly injured in a clash between the Awami League men-police and the BNP leaders and activists in Court Point area in the afternoon.
Sylhet city BNP organising secretary Miftah Siddiqui, however, told Prothom Alo that at least 10 BNP men were injured after police and armed Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists opened fire on them.
Witnesses said the BNP men brought out a procession near the district parishad protesting at the court’s verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Clashes broke out after the BCL activists chased the BNP men, whom police blocked from taking position in the area.
Later, AL leaders and activists, led by Sylhet public prosecutor and also Awami League central organising secretary Misbahuddin Siraj, along with police, took position in the court point area.
Earlier, a team of Sobahanighat police outpost intercepted Sylhet city mayor and also BNP’s central member Ariful Haque Chowdhury on his way to the city corporation building, which is in the court point area and asked him to return home.
Sobahanighat police outpost in-charge Kamar Uddin declined to comment on the incident.
Ariful Haque Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that police kept him confined at his house.
Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP) additional deputy commissioner Muhammad Abdul Wahab told newsmen that police members have been kept alert to tackle any untoward situation.
In Chittagong, tension prevailed as clashes between BNP leaders and activists and the law enforcers erupted at Nasim Square area near the city BNP office.
City BNP vice president Abu Sufian was injured during the clashes. Police also detained around 10 to 12 BNP men including BNP Chittagong city unit president Shahadat Hossain.
Police alleged that BNP leaders and activists at the Nasim Square threw brick chips at the law enforcers without any provocation.
In Mymensingh, miscreants set fire to a compartment of an intercity train in Mymensingh railway station on Thursday night. A number of seats in the compartment were burnt.
According to the railway authorities, Bijoy Express train usually leaves Mymensingh for Chittagong at 8:00pm.
Before leaving the Mymensigh station on Thursday, the miscreants set fire to a compartment while the train was heading towards the platform.
Railway police immediately brought the fire under control. Several seats of the compartment No. 20/50 were burnt. The train, however, left the station for Chittagong in time.
Mymensingh railway police station officer-in-charge Md Abdul Mannan Forazi said police detained four persons for their alleged involvement in the incident. Police are trying to trace those who are involved in the incident, the official added.
In Khulna, sporadic chases and counter chases between the police and BNP activists, punctuated by bouts of baton-charging by the lawmen, were reported around the BNP local office in Sadar upazila.
Police also detained seven BNP leaders including its local leader Shaharuzzaman Mortuza from the spot.
In Gopalganj, police detained five BNP-Jamaat men including upazila Jamaat ameer Solaiman Gazi in separate drives at different places of Kotalipara and Maksudpur upazila.
OC of Kotlipara police station Md Kamrul Faruq said the five were arrested to avoid violence centering Khaleda’s verdict, according to UNB.
In Lakshmipur, at least 10 people were injured as clashes occurred between local AL men and BNP leaders and activists at Godown Road area.
In Habiganj, police fired tear shells on the BNP members as they tried to bring out rallies at different points of the district.
Police also detained 22 leaders and activists of BNP-Jamaat including Lakhai upazila Jamaat secretary Habibur Rahman, making for the highest number of arrests reported in any district.
In Sherpur, four vehicles including a truck and a CNG-run auto-rickshaw were damaged by disgruntled BNP men, according to the OC of Sadar police station Md Nazrul Islam.
In Sirajganj, police held municipality councillor and local JCD convener Shahriar Shipu from his house in Masumpur area of the municipality.
In Barguna, police detained eight leaders and activists of BNP and blocked the local BNP office since morning, witnesses said.
Police resorted to firing tear gas canisters as they chased a group of protesting BNP leaders who tried to vandalise vehicles at Akhrabazar intersection.
A special court convicted Khaleda Zia, 73, and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the much-talked-about Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Five others accused in the case, including her son and BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each. The court also fined the five accused Tk 21 million.