AL embarrassed about Basurhat clashes

Staff Correspondent

12 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The ruling Awami League has been embarrassed about the intra-party clashes in Basurhat municipality of Noakhali, which left two people dead and scores injured.

AL central leaders have refrained from making comments in public over the incidents which have tarnished the images of the party and the government as well.

Talking to the Daily Sun, some senior leaders say they will place the matter before a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee, the highest policymaking body of the party.

“We’ll draw the attention of AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the incidents are tarnishing the image of the party and the government,” said a presidium member wishing not to be named.

Section 144 was imposed in Basurhat area to maintain law and order and hartal was enforced repeatedly in protest against the death of an AL activist and a journalist in the clashes, but no organisation action is yet to be taken against Abdul Quader Mirza, younger brother of AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, or any other party men.

“As Mirza is the brother of Obaidul Quader, that’s why no one wants to make any comment in public,” a senior leader of the party said on condition of anonymity.

The party men have refrained from making comments as Obaidul Quader, second powerful man of the ruling party, might take the matter personally, party insiders say.

AL spokesperson Obaidul Quader said none will be spared for the incident in Noakhali and stern action will be taken against the culprits.

“Those who are responsible for tarnishing the image of the party will be brought to book irrespective of their party affiliation,” he said.

Mirza, mayor of Basurhat municipality in Noakhali, stirred up the debate in the country’s political arena in December last year after making several controversial remarks on politics, elections and corruption.

Mirza drew the attention of the countrymen overnight by making statements against Awami League and internal feud in Basurhat.            

The district administration on Wednesday imposed section 144 to bring normalcy in the area.

On Tuesday evening, Bangladesh Chhatra League activist Alauddin was killed in a clash between the supporters of Mayor Mirza and supporters of former upazila chairman Mizanur Rahman Badal.

The deadly clash erupted between two factions over establishing supremacy, leaving at least 30 people injured, including the officer-in-charge of a police station and five of his colleagues. At least 12 of them were hit by bullets.

The incident took place at Basurhat Bazaar again, less than three weeks after journalist Borhan Uddin Muzakkir was shot dead and 50 others were injured in a clash between the same groups over establishing supremacy.

A case has been filed against 98 named and 150 unnamed people. Mizanur Rahman Badal was arrested on Thursday in connection with the violent clashes, raising the total number of arrestees to 29.

A murder case was filed against 164 people, including Mayor Quader Mirza, his son Mirza Mashrur Quader and brother Shahadat Hossain. Meanwhile, law enforcers laid siege to the municipal building at night to arrest Mayor Quader Mirza.

Earlier, Mirza, vice-president of Noakhali district, was allegedly removed from the party. Later, district AL leaders backtracked on the decision to relieve Mirza of organisational activities within two hours of issuing the statement signed by district AL President AHM Khairul Anam Chowdhury and its General Secretary Mohammad Ekramul Karim Chowdhury. Before participating in the January 16 second-phase municipal polls, the Mirza issue came to the fore while unveiling his election manifesto on December 31 last year. He brought allegations against some local lawmakers and AL leaders of corruption, tender manipulation and recruitment scams at the local level.

“Have the BNP's bastions really been destroyed? If elections were held in a fair manner, our MPs, except for the ones in three or four constituencies in greater Noakhali, would not have found ways to escape. That's the truth,” Mirza alleged.