The pro-liberation war youths of the upazila have been demonstrating from ‘Muktijuddher Chetona Bastobayon Mancha’ at the Shaheed Minar for the last one month in solidarity to the protesters at Shahbagh of Dhaka.
The Convenor of the ‘Muktijuddher Chetona Bastobayon Mancha’, Ruhul Amin Sarker, said the Jamaat-Shibir activists came in a procession around 10am and vandalised the main stage and the Shaheed Minar.
He told bdnews24.com, “Police, led by Badarganj Police Station Officer-in-Charge Nuruzzaman Chowdhury accompanied the procession, but they remained silent even as the Jamaat-Shibir activists started vandalising the Shaheed Minar and the stage.
Sarker also alleged that OC Chowdhury was involved with Shibir politics when he was a student at the Carmichael College in Rangpur.
After the attack, Upazila Awami League unit and all pro-liberation war socio-political and cultural organisations brought out a protest procession demanding arrest of the attackers and withdrawal of the OC immediately.
Chowdhury confirmed the vandalism, but refuted the allegations of remaining silent during the attack. He further claimed the Jamaat and Shibir activists could not set fire to the Shaheed Minar because of the police presence.
Asked whether he had any ties with the Shibir, the student wing of anti-independence party Jamaat-e-Islami, Chowdhury deflected the question saying, “Many get involved in politics in student life.”
However, apart from the vandalism of the Shaheed Minar at Badarganj, the second day of the Jamaat-enforced 48-hour nationwide shutdown received a lukewarm response Monday.
Although long-distance vehicles remained grounded due to the shutdown, small vehicles were plying on the city roads. Educational institutions and most of the shops and businesses were, however, open.
All trains also left Rangpur as per the schedule since morning, railway officials said.
Jamaat and Shibir have been rampaging across the country for the last few months demanding release of all party leaders charged with war crimes and dissolving the International Crimes Tribunal, set up to try the war criminals.
Until now, Shaheed Minars in different districts including Sylhet and Chandpur, have been attacked, vandalised and torched, for which police blame the activists of Jamaat and Shibir.
The ICT-1 on Feb 28 awarded death sentence to Jamaat executive council member and war criminal Delwar Hossain Sayedee for his crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Jamaat and Shibir soon after called the two-day strike for Sunday and Monday rejecting the verdict.
Over 50 people including several policemen died in violence by the Jamaat-Shibir men and their clashes with police since then. Police stations, Hindu temples and their houses and government offices have also been vandalised and set on fire.