SCBA polls: 13 pro-BNP lawyers get anticipatory bail in 'ballot-paper snatching' case, 2 others
The High Court has granted anticipatory bail to 13 BNP-backed candidates, who were accused in three cases filed for allegedly 'snatching ballot papers', creating unrest and obstructing police duties during the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) polls.
Among those granted bail are SCBA's BNP-backed panel president candidate Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon and secretary candidate Barrister Ruhul Kuddus Kajal.
On Monday, the High Court Bench of Justice Md Salim and Justice Md Bazlur Rahman granted them eight weeks of anticipatory bail or till the police files a report over the incident (whichever is first).
Senior lawyers AJ Mohammad Ali, Advocate Zainul Abedin, Barrister Kaiser Kamal represented the pro-BNP lawyers during the hearing.
Beginning of violence
On 14 March night, tension arose between the two panels as the White Panel lawyers nominated Md Moniruzzaman as the convener of the election management sub-committee. On the other hand, lawyers supported by the BNP nominated ASM Moktar Kabir Khan for the position.
At one point, the situation led to processions, commotion, and chaos. The situation came under control with the interference of the police.
On Wednesday (15 March), during the first day of the polls, pro-BNP lawyers reportedly attacked and vandalised the polling booths. Protesting the attack, pro-Awami League lawyers brought out processions on the court premises. At one stage, pro-BNP and pro-Awami League lawyers engaged in scuffles, leading to police intervention.
On 16 March, tensions escalated as the two sides started verbally attacking one another, chanting slogans, "vote chor" (vote thieves), and throwing accusations. The clash first erupted around noon and lasted about an hour. Around 4pm, the two groups of lawyers came face to face, taking stands for and against the SCBA polls as well as attacking with slogans.
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Later on the day, election management committee convener Md Moniruzzaman filed a case with Shahbagh Police Station, alleging Pro-BNP lawyers Mahbub Uddin Khokon, Ruhul Quddus, and 12 others, alongside 100 anonymous people of stealing and tearing ballot papers and throwing away election-related accessories.
Rabiul Islam, administrative officer of the association, filed another case with the same police station on charges of attacks during the election, in which over 100 pro-BNP lawyers were made defendants.