At least 15 activists of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) and its associate bodies were injured as police charged batons on their procession in Barisal city yesterday.
Police also detained six leaders and activists -- BSD member secretary of Barisal district unit Dr Manisha Chakrabarty, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front central president Imran Habib, BSD city unit leaders Mithun Chakrabarty, Zakir Hossain, Nurul Islam and Nasrin Akther Tuma.
BSD sources said they demonstrated blocking the road in front of Barisal City Corporation (BCC) demanding that the authorities concerned allow battery-run three-wheelers to ply the city streets.
Then police forced them to leave the spot. Following that, they were marching towards their party office on Fakirbari road in the city. When the procession reached in front of Judge Court area, police charged batons on the protesters without any provocation, leaving 15 of their activists injured, alleged Badruddoza Saikat, secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front of the city unit. At that time, police arrested the six activists, he added.
On the other hand, police said after being forced to leave the road in front of BCC, the protesters were demonstrating blocking a busy road in Judge Court area. When police again asked them to vacate the area, they swooped on the law enforcers, prompting police to exercise force, said SM Ruhul Amin, commissioner of Barisal Metropolitan Police (BMP). The demonstrators were arrested for attacking the law enforcers, said Golam Mohammad Rouf, deputy police commissioner (south) of BMP.
BMP Assistant Commissioner (AC) Sahanaj Begum claimed that six police personnel including her were injured in the attack by demonstrators. According to Barisal Kotwali Model Police Station sources, five police personnel including Constable Sharmin, sub-inspectors Iva and Nazrul received first aid from the police hospital.
It is worth mentioning that owners and drivers of battery-run auto-rickshaws have been demanding permission to operate on city roads for a long time. In recent time, police seized over 100 such vehicles for violating the restriction. BSD demonstrated supporting the cause of battery-run three wheeler owners and drivers.
Meanwhile, some witnesses said BSD leaders Manisha and Tuma willingly got in the police vehicle after the law enforcers detained some of their activists.
DC Rouf said a case would be filed soon.
Meanwhile, demanding the release of the arrestees, BSD brought out a procession in the city when the report was being filed at 6:30pm.
Badruddoza Saikat said they would announce a tougher movement if the arrestees are not released immediately.