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Pre-election clash leaves 25 injured in Dhaka

Dhaka: In a series of clashes between activists of Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and police on the third day of the party's nomination forms distribution programme today (Nov 14-Wednesday) in front of its central office at Naya Paltan in Dhaka left at least 25 injured.

Most of the injured belonged to the BNP.

The clashes between the BNP supporters and police started at about 1 pm on Wednesday. Police lobbed tear gas canisters and used lathis (batons) to bring the situation under control and quell the violence.

Police and eyewitnesses said that BNP activists were seen setting in flames a number of police vehicles at Naya Paltan area. They set fire to at least three cars during the clashes.

Firemen arrived in the area at 1-30 pm, but they could not reach the scene of the occurrence to extinguish the fire as the street there was blocked by the BNP activists.

Chief of Paltan police station Mahmud Hossain termed the clashes with the law-enforcement agency as unprovoked.

"The leaders and activists of (BNP) were haphazardly spread out in front of their party office. The police requested them to maintain order. But they clashed with the police without any provocation," Hossain added. Police later moved back to the Nightingale street intersection at Kakrail as the BNP leaders and activists occupied one side of the street in front of their central office.

However, some rickshaws were seen moving on the opposite side of the street.

As the chaos unfolded, a group of BNP activists took out a march with portraits of their party chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, who has now been languishing in jail as the court recently handed down her a total 17 years imprisonment in two graft6 cases, demanded her immediate release.

The BNP activists then occupied the street triggering panic in the area. Some of the supporters were seen in the spot of occurrence carrying sticks.

As violence spread into nearby areas during the clashes, traffic came to a halt on the streets leading to the BNP central office.

Meanwhile, Awami league general Secretary Obaidul alleged that the BNP men cried out on policeman as part of their party's conspiracy to foil the upcoming election.

BNP secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam condemn the attack on their leders and worker. He said that this attack will affect the time atmosphere. Agencies

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