Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) standing committee member Dr Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain has alleged that the ruling Awami League and police are attacking BNP leaders and activists in Cumilla ahead of the political party's divisional rally on Saturday (26 November).
"Everyday lives of BNP activists are being disrupted here," Dr Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain said at a press conference organised at a restaurant in Cumilla on Friday (25 November).
"Constable Biswajit of Brahmanbaria's Bancharampur police station brutally killed Chhatra Dal leader Nayan with a shotgun. But case is filed against BNP activists. Rafiq and Saidul have been arrested in this case," he added.
He further said, "Cumilla's Laksam and Manoharganj upazilas have gained infamy as townships of terror. The ruling party is establishing a reign of terror."
BNP Vice Chairman Barkat Ullah Bulu and his wife were attacked in Manoharganj's Bipulasa market on 17 September, he said.
Dr Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain said that the ruling party is cracking down on BNP activists in Cumilla for the last 10-12 days ahead of Saturday's rally.
"Policemen in plain clothes are going to the houses of BNP activists and trying to intimidate them. On 21 November, plainclothed police attacked and vandalised the house of BNP joint convener Monir Ahmed. The house of Chandpur BNP General Secretary Salim Ullah Selim and the house of various leaders and activists were searched by police," he alleged.
House-to-house searches and mass arrests were conducted in Hajiganj and Shahrasti upazilas on 23 November, the BNP leader further said.
He said that Jubo Dal, Swachhasebak Dal and Chhatra Dal are also being targeted by the ruling party.
"70-75 armed men led by the local chairman Mizanur Rahman, Amjad and Rubel Master, supported by Awami League, broke the door of BNP leader Dr Nasir's house in Kasba upazila in Brahmanbaria district and entered the house and assaulted the female members of his family. They didn't even spare a pregnant woman who was there," Dr Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain said.
"In almost every district upazila of Cumilla division, the ruling party and the police are targeting BNP men. However, no matter how much they torture and oppress the people of Cumilla division, no evil force will be able to suppress them tomorrow," he added.
The BNP leader further added, "Despite all the obstacles, the previous seven rallies have been largely peaceful. I promise, Cumilla rally will be peaceful."
"Many in the government are saying that the game is on. It is not a game, it is politics. We want to repair the broken economy of the country through this politics," Dr Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain said.
BNP Vice Chairman Barkat Ullah Bulu, Comilla South District BNP convener and chief assembly coordinator Haji Amin-ur-Rashid Yachin and BNP Cumilla Divisional Organising Secretary Mostak Mia also spoke at the press conference.