Thursday, 23 March, 2023

SCBA polls marred by violence

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 16 March, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news
SCBA polls marred by violence

At least 25 people, including 10 journalists, were injured in violence that marred the first day of the two-day voting in the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) election on Wednesday.

Pro-Awami League and pro-BNP lawyers were locked in a scuffle before the start of the voting on the SC premises in the capital.

 The incident caused a two-hour delay in the voting which was scheduled to begin at 10:00am.

Chief Justice Hasan Faiz Siddiqui has expressed deep concern over the incident, saying: “We are shocked by the incident. Everyone should be careful while performing duties.”

He has assured a journalist delegation of taking action against the accused policemen. The chief justice asked them to file a written complaint about the attack on journalists.

The injured journalists are Jabed Akhter of ATN News, Shubra Kanti Das of Prothom Alo, Fazlul Haque of, Nur Mohammad of Ajker Potrika, Jannatul Ferdous of Independent Television, Ibrahim Hossain of Boishakhi TV, Humayun Kabir of ATN Bangla and Abdullah Al Maruf of Manab Zamin.

Jabed’s condition was stated to be critical. He was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

 Injured Nur Mohammad said that at about 11:45am, they (journalists) went to the polling centre after hearing commotion.

They saw that pro-Awami League lawyers and the pro-BNP lawyers were chanting slogans against each other.

At one stage, police began charging batons on lawyers.  “I was covering it. Then, a policeman kicked me,” he said.

He said at about 10:30am, about 20-30 policemen entered the voting centre and get journalists out of it.

Fazlur Rahman, another victim, said some policemen beat him up with sticks.  “I sustained injures on the head and body,” he said.

He alleged that the policemen forcibly took cameras and mobile phones from some journalists.

Ashutosh Sarkar, president of Law Reporters Forum, said they informed the chief justice and the law minister of the matter.

On the route of unrest, eyewitness said around 9:45am, Advocate Ruhul Kuddus, the BNP-nominated general secretary candidate for the SCBA polls, was locked in an argument with a member of the election management subcommittee at the the SCBA auditorium.

At one stage of the incident, a pro-Awami League lawyer was locked in a scuffle with a pro-BNP lawyer.

BNP-backed president candidate Advocate Mahbub Uddin Khokon said voting could not be begun before a decision about the formed commission to hold the polls.

At about 11:40pm, a number of policemen entered the voting centre and charged batons on lawyers to bring the situation under control.

At around 3:00pm, pro-BNP lawyers held a press briefing there and brought out a procession after half an hour later. Then, they vandalised a voting pandal, which led to a chase and counter chase with pro-Awami League lawyers.

Amid the unrest, voting ended at 5:00pm, which will resume today.