They attacked the prison van near the High Court and snatched two detainees in the presence of Khaleda Zia as she was returning from the court hearing, Deputy Police Commissioner Maruf Hossain Sardar said.
Police have arrested 69 people at the scene during a clash with agitating BNP activists who took away weapons and other protective gears from police.
The incident coincided Khaleda Zia’s court appearance on Tuesday when she attended Zia Charitable Trust graft case hearing at a special judge’s court in Bakhsibazar.
BNP activists often gather on the roadside from the capital’s High Court to Bakhsibazar to wave to their party chief but end up clashing with police on Khaleda’s way back from the special court.
On Tuesday, police detained some BNP activists and hauled them into their vehicle as tensions ran high ahead of the Feb 8 delivery of the verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Deputy Commissioner Maruf, however, could not provide identities of the two BNP activists snatched from police custody.
BNP leaders later told bdnews24.com that the two snatched away from police were the party’s National Executive Committee member Obaidul Haque Nasir and one ‘Sohag’.
Maruf claimed the attackers broke the windshield of the prison van, left several police officers, including an assistant deputy commissioner, injured, and also smashed police guns.
He confirmed that 69 people were detained at the scene.
“We showed great patience. They attacked us without any reason. We did not take any big action immediately as Khaleda Zia was there,” Maruf said.
Shahbagh Police Station Inspector Zafar Ali Biswas told bdnews24.com they were initiating a case over the vandalising of prison van, pelting of brickbats and attack in police in an attempt to murder.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Ajimul Haque told bdnews24.com at least four police personnel, including him, were injured in ‘a sudden attack by the BNP activists on a prison van’.
He claimed no one was taken to the van until they came under attack.