Dhaka: More than 200 people were injured in clashes across Bangladesh on Sunday between opposition activists and the police as the BNP and its 17 allies held rallies to protest the disappearance of one of its leaders.
Around 150 of those injured were wounded at southeastern port city of Chittagong. Witnesses and police said the violence at the port city began as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) attacked policemen when security officials obstructed a street march of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, an ally of the BNP.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance opposition parties were staging street protests as part of their earlier announced programme of demanding government steps for return of the mysteriously disappeared BNP organising secretary Ilias Ali, who has been missing for over a month.
"We were forced to use batons as the unruly activists attacked us," police officials told reporters.
But a senior BNP leader Abdulah Al Noman called the police action "barbaric" saying "they attacked us as we were staging protests in a peaceful manner”.
Violence was also reported from western Jessore, Magura and Feni where police used batons, fired gunshots in the air and tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters.
The BNP-led alliance announced the agitation programmes also to force the government to withdraw "false" cases filed against its leaders and to demand release of several arrested BNP leaders, including Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
The violence today coincided with a High Court order asking BNP`s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and other alliance leaders to surrender before a lower court with bail prayers as they were facing charges of involvement in the torching of a bus and explosion of bombs in front of the Prime Minister`s Office during the April 29 opposition shutdown.