Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 13 February: Bangladesh Police have foiled a rally organized by the BNP in Dhaka protesting the government’s decision to revoke its founder Ziaur Rahman’s gallantry title ‘Bir Uttam’.
Clashes broke out at the rally in front of the National Press Club on Saturday after police baton charged to disperse the BNP supporters and leaders.
The rally, joined by hundreds of supporters of the party and its front organizations from across the country, began around 10am.
Around 12pm, police intervened and started to clear the street in front of the press club, where the rally was being held.
At one point, a commotion started when law enforcers baton charged the demonstrators. Clashes and running battles broke out with BNP activists hurling brickbats and stones at the police.
BNP senior leaders Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Amanullah Aman, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anee, and Nazim uddin Alam took shelter inside the press club during the chaos. Several leaders and activists were injured in the skirmish, witnesses said.
Several people have been detained from in and around the press club area, said police.
At least 18 have been held after the clash, Mamunur Rashid, officer-in-charge of Shahbagh police station, told the Daily Star newspaper.
At least 10 to 12 policemen were also injured during the incident, he said.
Meanwhile, a policeman and at least 12 BNP activists took treatment at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, the national daily reported citing sources at the hospital.
On Thursday, BNP announced a two-day programs protesting what it said was an “evil effort” to repeal the party founder and late president Ziaur Rahman’s ‘Bir Uttam’ title.
As part of the programs, the party held rallies in all the metropolitan cities, including Dhaka, on Saturday.
On Tuesday, the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council in a meeting discussed the ways to revoke the gallantry title of Ziaur Rahman for “violating” the constitution, “abetting” the self-proclaimed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in escaping the country.
The meeting also agreed to repeal then state-given awards to Bangabandhu’s four convicted killers Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Mosleh Uddin, and Rashed Chowdhury.
According to the media reports, a probe body of the council will meet soon to look into the legal aspects of removing the gallantry titles given to Ziaur Rahman and the four killers of Bangabandhu.
Bir Uttam, the second-highest award for individual gallantry in Bangladesh, was conferred on Ziaur Rahman for his contributions to the Liberation War as a sector commander.