JCD mayhem at Press Club

Activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), students’ wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), locked into a series of fierce clashes with police leaving over 50 people, including law enforcers and journalists, injured Sunday morning at National Press Club area in capital Dhaka.

The entire press club area turned into a battle ground when the JCD activists equipped with bamboo sticks, brickbats and stones swooped on the law-enforcers at around 11:00 am. During the clashes, chases and counter chases also took place there. Transport movement came to a halt creating a severe traffic jam on all the roads surrounding the press club area. A severe panic also gripped the commuters. 

The clashes erupted when the JCD men launched angry demonstrations in protest against the death of one writer Mushtaq Ahmed under jail custody and also demanding abolition of the Digital Security Act.

Witnesses said the JCD activists gathered in front the Press Club in the morning. As they tried to stage demonstrations around 11 am, police obstructed them saying that they do not have any permission to hold a rally.

At one stage of altercation over the issue, JCD men started hurling of brickbats at the policemen, who also retaliated with teargas shells to disperse them.

Witnesses said, during a series of clashes that lasted for about 40 minutes, the JCD men made attacks on the policemen taking shelter inside the press club.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also took shelter inside the Press Club when the clash broke out and he then left the place in a car.

Sources said, apart from police and journalists, several staffers of the press club and some of the JCD men sustained injuries in the clashes.

Sazzadur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner of Ramna Zone of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP, said that permission from the DMP Commissioner is needed to hold such a programme at any place of Dhaka city. But JCD did not take any such permission from the DMP.  

Legal action will be taken against them, he said.

It should be mentioned that a writer named Mushtaq reportedly suffered a heart attack inside his cell at Kashimpur Prison on Thursday evening. He was rushed to Shaheed Tajuddin Medical College Hospital where he was declared brought dead. An unnatural death case has been filed with Sadar Police Station under Gazipur Metropolitan Police in connection with Mushtaq's custodial death.

The 53-year-old writer, who published the book "Kumir Chaasher Diary" under the pen name Michael Kumir Thakur, was picked up by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel from his Lalmatia home on May 2, allegedly for posts over the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On August 20, he was shifted to Kashimpur prison, Gias Uddin said.