Despite all this, the BNP has remained peaceful during its rallies since August last year. However, it may be recalled that the BNP headquarters premises were turned into a battlefield through a police raid on December 7 last year, three days before the party’s grand rally on December 10.
Therefore, after the October 28 incident, a question has arisen whether BNP has fallen into the government’s trap. The questioning assumes that instigating violence from the ruling bloc is legitimate, and that clashes at BNP rallies are initiated by participants, making the party solely responsible for the violence.
In such a backdrop, it is important to examine the developments on October 28. Shutting down internet service in Naya Paltan area through a government order much before the rally and disrupting information flow as well as communication is certainly not intended to support the programme.
There is no scope for denying that BNP workers engaged in various types of clashes with the police in various streets adjacent to the rally venue. It is important to consider the festive atmosphere at the BNP rally given the media reports from the morning as well as the scale of the clashes.
Before the formal start, police raids took place from both sides of the rally. It would not be wrong to assume that if the key speaker had been able to deliver his speech, the situation would have been under control. This was seen in various divisional rallies on December 10 last year and in several rallies in Dhaka in July this year.
But the police adopted an aggressive stance from the very beginning on 28 October. Does this not indicate the police’s intention to foil the rally?
The characteristic of BNP and other major political parties in Bangladesh is that the party leadership does not have complete control over each member, nor do party people show excessive discipline.
Therefore, it is undisputed that a small section of BNP people were involved in clashes with Awami League people and the police, and even attacked journalists. A policeman died during the clash. These incidents are unfortunate and regrettable. It is necessary to prosecute those responsible.
Deaths of police officers in clashes, deaths of journalists due to tear gas, deaths of opposition activists due to police chases, and beatings of people from the ruling party are unacceptable examples of violence.
Also, it should be kept in mind that from July last year to April this year, at least 15 BNP men lost their lives at the hands of the police and members of the ruling party. These are also examples of violence.