BNP-Jamaat Pre-Election Brutality: Targeting Awami League Candidates & Supporters through Bombings & Death Threats

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Published on February 10, 2023
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One week before the election, the BNP-Jamaat alliance launched a campaign of violence against the Awami League through bombings in public. Under the direct control of Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman, the alliance hired terrorists from extremist groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to carry out the violence. Khaleda Zia even selected leaders from banned militant organizations such as Mufti Amini and Mufti Shahidul to participate in the elections. As a result, these fundamentalists joined forces with Jamaat-Shibir to target and kill prominent Awami League leaders.

The Janakantha reported on September 24, that BNP-Jamaat leaders attacked Awami League leader Sheikh Helal, also the son of Bangabandhu's late younger brother, during his campaign for the Bagerhat-1 constituency on September 24. The police managed to save Sheikh Helal's life by pushing him to the side when a bomb exploded on stage, but he suffered an injury to his hand. Tragically, eight Awami League leaders and activists were killed on the spot, and hundreds were left seriously injured.

Ahead of the elections, BNP-Jamaat carried out a series of attacks in Bhola, leaving over 100 people injured and at least six people killed. On September 23, BNP-Jamaat terrorists ambushed the convoy of former minister and Awami League candidate Tofail Ahmed, bombing it from three sides. The police engaged in a shootout with the terrorists to protect Tofail Ahmed, resulting in the death of an Awami League activist. After the attack, the miscreants vandalized and burned down eight Awami League election offices.

BNP-Jamaat's brutal attacks on minority communities in Bhola and Feni left thousands of please displaced from their homes. Khaleda Zia’s followers assassinated a young man named Bashir for assisting the Hindu community in Daulatkhan of Bhola to flee from BNP-Jamaat atrocities.

In the aftermath of the elections on October 1, 2001, Shibir men threatened to occupy the Dhaka University campus from October 2. Earlier, the Chhatra Dal disrupted an anti-fundamentalist cartoon exhibition on campus by burning the national flag. Afterwards, Shibir announced to occupy the university and took responsibility for holding elections in several constituencies in Dhaka by the orders of Khaleda Zia. Since then, Shibir started a rampage and announced their robust network based on Kataban Masjid and law enforcement agencies. They also threatened to eliminate teachers and activists of progressive organizations if necessary.