BNP-Jamaat’s Pre-Election Violence in 2001 Marred by Brutality on Freedom Fighters, Rampant Takeovers of University Campuses

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Published on February 10, 2023
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Jamaat-Shibir, in collaboration with BNP, terrorized the country in the name of anti-government protests, leading to the murder, rape, and looting of freedom fighters and Awami League activists like the brutality of 2014 with arson and petrol bomb attacks.

On September 18, 2001, the Janakantha reported that Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Abdus Sobhan were nominated by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to be elected from the alliance in Pabna. Jamaat then embarked on desperate activities to take control of the entire district town. The freedom fighter families, pro-liberation people, minority communities, and Awami League supporters were subjected to inhumane torture by the BNP-Jamaat alliance before the election.

However, there two leaders did not get any votes worth mentioning in the 1996 elections due to the notorious role of 71. Several BNP leaders confirmed that if Khaleda Zia did not rehabilitate them with her own hands, they could not be influential in the area. They treated BNP as the B-team of Jamaat and took control of the supremacy since Khaleda Zia gave the leadership to Jamaat.

Before the election, the BNP-Jamaat alliance started inhumane torture of the families of freedom fighters, pro-liberation people, minority people and Awami League supporters. Two weeks prior to the polls, Jamaat-Shibir cadres openly attacked freedom fighters and put them on display with shoe garlands around their necks. 

The local residents expressed their anger and demanded justice, but the freedom fighters were detained and tortured in the Jamaat office due to the support of Tarique Rahman and the BNP high command. 

BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury brought notorious murderers out of Chittagong jail for capturing the polling stations and ballot stuffing. He exercised his influence to release Ehsan, a top terror in Patiya, from jail despite dissent from the court inspector and CID police.

In Patiya, the police's efforts to apprehend top Shibir leader Humayun and his accomplices were in vain. The police surrounded the house at Didar’s house where the terrorists took shelter. However, when BNP-Jamaat alliance candidate Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari arrived with a crowd following orders from the BNP high-ups and started firing at the police to save the criminal. According to local accounts, the BNP-Jamaat leaders supplied the terrorists with high-tech weapons in preparation for the election, leading the police to retreat.

During the caretaker government, Chhatra Dal Shibir occupied four major universities across the country -- Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong, and Sylhet Shahjalal University -- with armed exercises. They took control of more than fifty educational institutions, including various colleges, and disrupted the academic atmosphere. Previously, scholars, journalists, and residents reported that educational institutions were never subject to such terror during any military or political regime. Thousands of female students were forced to leave campus due to the threat of rape by Chhatra Dal and Shibir militants, causing widespread insecurity. The BNP-Jamaat alliance has used educational institutions as hideouts for terrorists, disrupting classes and exams.