Awami League men on Sunday barged into the Supreme Court premises to prevent pro-BNP lawyers from agitating against the government with the law enforcers playing the role of silent spectators.
For the first time the countrymen have seen an incident like that on the premises of the apex court when stick-wielding Awami League forced open the main gate of the court around 3:20pm to chase the demonstrating lawyers.
Earlier, around 11:30am police used water cannon on the protesting pro-BNP lawyers when they tried to march to Nayapalton. Some five lawyers fell sick. There were reportedly many outsiders including lawyers from lower court.
As over two hundred lawyers of pro-BNP tried to bring out a procession the law enforcers locked the main gate of the SC.
Law enforcers with water cannon and armoured vehicle were stationed outside. They lobbed two sound grenades to disperse the lawyers.
The pro-BNP lawyers then left the main gate and went to the gate next to the bar counsel building. As they found the gate locked too they split into two groups and took positions at the two gates.
BNP Chairperson’s Adviser Osman Faruk, party leader Sanaullah Mia, former commerce minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury and lawyers of Dhaka Judge Court were with the lawyers.
After 3pm Awami League men stormed into the SC premises. They torched a motorcycle in front of the Supreme Court Bar Association. The lawyers taking shelter in the Bar building hurled glass bottles at the Awami League activists. The AL supporters also retaliated by hurling brick chips at them. Awami League cadres beat advocate Simki Imam Khan brutally. At one stage she kept lying motionless on the pavement with her dressed soaked in blood. Some photojournalists came to her rescue.
Another lawyer, loyal to the 18-party alliance, Rehana Parvin was also beaten.
The ruling party goons also hit some lawyers and tweaked their ears asking them repeatedly: “Will you ever come to the March? Will you?” Some of the attackers wrapped the national flag around their foreheads.
BNP supporters had positioned themselves on the roof of the court building while Awami League held the ground below.
Both factions were seen pelting stones at each other. At 4:05pm a force of police led by Ramna Zone DC Maruf Hasan entered the court premises to control the situation. After two minutes a fire service unit came and put the fire out.
Supreme Court Registrar AKM Shamsul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that many outsiders joined with the protest of pro-BNP lawyers. Three lawyers – Rehana Pervin, Abu Zafar Manik and Nazrul Islam Pappu received minor injuries.
Meanwhile, about 15 pro-BNP-Jamaat journalists received injuries when some ruling Awami League men hurled brick chips at them as they were demonstrating inside the National Press Club.
Immediately after the incident, the pro-government journalists led by former president of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury held a rally protesting the presence of outsiders inside the press club.
UNB added: Pro-opposition teachers of Dhaka University were manhandled by activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jubo League near the High Court on Sunday afternoon.
Prof Dr Mamun Ahmed, a teacher loyal to BNP, told UNB that they were going to BNP’s Nayapaltan central office in a procession to join the opposition’s “March for Democracy”.
However, police obstructed them in front of Kadam Foara near the High Court. Being resisted, the teachers staged a sit-in there. At one stage, some BCL and Jubo League men attacked the sit-in and physically assaulted the teachers, Mamun said.