BNP’s Resilient Pursuit in the Grand Rally: Triumph Over Tyranny – Official Statement of BNP on Events of October 28th

  1. Context of BNP’s Mass Mobilization for Democracy:

On 28 October 2023, during the grand rally of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-BNP, certain individuals from the authoritarian Awami League government’s heavily politicized law enforcement agencies and the ruling party’s terrorists orchestrated violent attacks, leading to chaos and damage to public lives and properties. BNP, as a political party with a firm belief in peace and liberalism, vehemently denounces and expresses profound disappointment and outrage over this situation.

If we scrutinize the targets and victims of a carefully orchestrated master plan by Awami League to sow discord on that significant day of our grand rally, it becomes evident how the state machinery exploits the unfortunate murder of a policeman as a crucial legal tool to implicate numerous eminent BNP leaders and passionate activists across the country. Their intentions are clearly driven by the deadly agenda to arrest, harass, and entangle us in legal troubles ahead of the elections.

We view this as an integral part of Awami League’s three-pronged strategy: first, undermining the BNP’s peaceful and nonviolent demonstrations with controversial clashes and confrontations; second, spreading widespread fear and intimidation among millions of opposition grassroots and followers through violent attacks; and third, ensnaring BNP leaders and key activists in fabricated, high-risk cases in a vain effort to keep us away from the ongoing one-point demand movement.

In the ongoing movement for the restoration of democracy and voting rights, BNP has organized regional gatherings across Bangladesh and a grand rally in the capital, Dhaka, since July 2022, with the presence of millions of citizens. The convergence of people in these gatherings is unprecedented in Bangladesh’s political history. People from all walks of life and professions, whether by bus, train, walking, crossing rivers, and enduring hardships, have joined our rallies with resilience and determination.

The ordinary citizens have actively engaged in these events, demonstrating their support for BNP’s legitimate one-point demand. The unity of common people with BNP’s mission to reclaim people’s power has served as an inspiration for all democratic parties in Bangladesh. This collective effort has underscored that BNP’s initiative to restore democracy aligns with the aspirations of the masses.


  1. Build-Up of Judicial Harassment:

The fascist Awami League regime, leveraging its influence over politically manipulated law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, has relentlessly attempted to disrupt our peaceful and nonviolent activities. Based on the available information, during our grand rally on 28 October and the peaceful strike on 29 October, the police and Awami League thugs killed four individuals in attacks, apprehended 690 leaders and activists, filed 20 false cases, and injured over 3,000 leaders and workers. Furthermore, in the five days preceding the grand rally, from 23 October to 28 October, more than 2,640 leaders and workers were detained, and 45 false cases were registered.

Between 28 July and 28 October 2023, as per the accessible data, 442 cases have been lodged against BNP leaders and workers nationwide. A total of 5,310 people have been arrested, implicating 31,980 individuals, and more than 5,110 leaders and workers have sustained injuries in attacks surpassing this figure. The judiciary’s politicization has resulted in death sentences for nine individuals, with various leaders and workers receiving prison sentences of varying lengths.

Over the past 15 years, cases have been filed against hundreds of thousands of people. A vast number of BNP activists have been incarcerated, and thousands of parents have mourned the loss of their children due to police shootings, abuses, and extrajudicial killings. Those who voiced their dissent against these injustices or criticized the government have faced persecution and legal repercussions.

The walls of prisons and torture chambers bear witness to countless tales of suffering. International human rights organizations have documented these human rights violations, and they have unequivocally proven the complicity of the Awami League government’s law enforcement agencies in these human rights abuses.


  1. BNP’s Nonviolent Movement Denounced by Awami League’s Violent Tactics:

Members of BNP at every level, spanning from central figures to grassroots workers, as well as urban supporters and rural activists, have engaged fervently in peaceful and nonviolent demonstrations. Con

Consequently, political parties advocating for democracy in Bangladesh have joined forces in endorsing BNP’s reasonable call for the reinstatement of democracy. Together, we have launched a robust movement against the authoritarian Awami League.

International organizations and countries are pressing Sheikh Hasina for a credible and participatory election process. Despite edging closer to success in our peaceful campaign for the revival of democracy in Bangladesh, the ruling Awami League, fearing our collective power, has opted for a path of discord and clashes. However, their unparalleled brutality, torture, and fatalities have failed to divert BNP from the route of nonviolence.

Sheikh Hasina has abandoned the fundamentals of democracy and resorted to state-sponsored violence. On 28 October, Awami League and its loyal police force planned to create a violent situation in Dhaka during BNP’s grand rally. To prevent people from all over the country from coming to Dhaka, they started arresting individuals using mobile checks at checkpoints placed all along the roads. If anyone’s identity was recognized as a BNP leader or activist, they were immediately arrested.

In Dhaka, thousands of leaders and workers were arrested overnight in various residential hotels and houses. Late at night, they launched attacks and detained numerous leaders and ordinary people. The internet speed was deliberately slowed down.

Overpowering these arrests and brutalities, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the rally in the early morning hours. They overflowed the assembly ground and spread to the surrounding areas, chanting slogans in support of BNP. Despite the challenges, this extraordinary turnout has intensified the fear among the oppressive Awami League government and the police force.

According to Awami League’s premeditated master plan, some of their violent activists started attacking the extension of a peaceful BNP rally near the Kakrail intersection. They threw bricks at a gate near the Chief Justice’s residence, and legitimized police intervention. In a situation where the police force needed to maintain a professional and impartial role, the police themselves initiated aggressive actions by chasing and assaulting BNP activists who were heading to the rally in Paltan. Tear gas was fired, and sound grenades were deployed recklessly against unarmed and defenseless BNP party men.

Citizens, as well as the international community, witnessed with astonishment and anger the ruthless tactics employed by the fascist government on 28 October, in response to BNP’s peaceful grand rally, where millions of people gathered to reclaim their voting rights. In the Kakrail and Naya Paltan areas, a war-like situation ensued, shrouded in smoke.

The police used batons, rubber bullets, and sound grenades indiscriminately, injuring numerous unarmed leaders, activists, and ordinary citizens. Unprecedented violent attacks were launched on journalists and media workers as part of this malicious plan. Despite the peaceful intentions outlined by BNP, the government and its police force resorted to excessive force, directly challenging democracy, and intimidating the media and the judiciary.


  1. Vicious Cycle of State-Sponsored Violence in Grand Rally:

Awami League administration resorted to shutting down internet connectivity and mobile networks at the BNP’s grand rally venue. They also disrupted electricity connections and blocked the transmission of speeches through microphones.

Police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and intelligence agency members continued to use tear gas, rubber bullets, sound grenades, batons, and vans to attack. As per the government’s premeditated plan, Chhatra League and Jubo League members of the ruling Awami League actively participated in this joint attack, causing harm and injuries to BNP leaders and activists.

Amid instances of police brutality, Constable Amirul Islam Parvez became a victim of the violence. A local BNP leader named Shamin Mia, from Dhaka South Jubo Dal, lost his life due to police gunfire. Journalist leader and National Press Club member Rafiq Bhuiyan died the next day of injuries sustained from tear gas fired by the police.

Thousands of democracy-loving individuals who participated in the grand rally were deeply affected and injured. Many central and local leaders and activists of BNP are still in critical condition in hospitals. We condemn each barbaric act of violence that occurred in broad daylight and demand thorough and unbiased investigations as well as fair trials. We express our utmost contempt for the BNP and the citizens of the country towards this ruthless Awami League brutality, which sacrifices human lives for their political gains.

Many journalists and media workers, who are responsible for carrying out their professional duties, have not been spared from cruel torture. We assure them of our full solidarity and support. We strongly condemn the violent attacks on independent media and journalists, which are fundamental pillars of democracy and press freedom.

Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter grants every individual attacked the right to self-defense. Even in the face of armed attacks by the police and Awami League activists during the grand rally, our unarmed activists stood resolute to protect themselves. The unilateral attack by the police and Awami League activists shifted our peaceful workers to a defensive stance, adhering to the principles of nonviolence.

Ambulances, fire service vehicles, buses, and motorcycles were set on fire by the ruling Awami League, in the active presence of law enforcement agencies. We have reasons to believe that they jointly attacked a section of the Chief Justice’s residence, as well as the central police hospital in Rajarbagh, as per the pre-planned agenda to create chaos. In areas like Kakrail, Fakirapool, Naya Paltan, and Shantinagar, several police boxes were destroyed by them.

Dozens of arson attacks occurred throughout the country as vehicles were set ablaze during the simmering tensions. Several BNP offices were also set on fire along with some government establishments, understandably by a group of Awami League miscreants.


  1. Rights Violations and Political Manipulations:

Given the significant presence of heavily armed law enforcement agencies, whose abuses of human rights are well-documented and have caused immense suffering for BNP activists, it is difficult to fathom how BNP activists could have, in broad daylight, targeted the central police hospital, ambulances, and other public assets.

It is evident to the people of Bangladesh and all concerned parties that these violent incidents were orchestrated deliberately to falsely implicate the BNP as part of a politically motivated persecution agenda. Essentially, all the allegations of clashes and arson attacks occurred in locations far removed from the BNP’s primary grand rally venue in Naya Paltan, and there is a possibility that neither our central leaders nor grassroots members were involved in these events in any way.

At the same time, the ruling Awami League organized a gathering at a distance of one and a half kilometers from Naya Paltan to Baitul Mukarram Mosque. Most of their leaders and activists carried sticks, which were used against BNP participants of the grand rally in acts of terrorism.

Awami League, with its perennial conspiratorial politics, involving law enforcement agencies and administration, has once again resorted to attacking BNP and blaming BNP itself for the violence, using the state machinery, including law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.

However, through social media, videos have surfaced depicting people dressed in police uniforms or Awami League terrorists setting fire to buses. The drivers and helpers of the vehicles involved have admitted as eyewitnesses that these incidents were staged in their presence.

Sheikh Hasina government has initiated a series of attacks, false legal cases, arrests, and detentions against BNP. In response, we, representing the united citizens, have peacefully gathered, organized processions, and engaged in nonviolent initiatives throughout the past year. The authoritarian regime, aiming to stifle our peaceful opposition, has manipulated law enforcement and legal procedures to wrongly accuse BNP leaders and activists.

These manipulative tactics were glaringly evident in the peaceful grand rally held on 28 October, where the government resorted to violence and subversion. In late night, the police placed Crime Scene Tape in front of the main gate of BNP’s central office in Naya Paltan. They purportedly gathered ten different types of evidence, alleging that BNP had engaged in organized violence.

This malicious effort is part of an ongoing, persistent campaign to fabricate charges against BNP’s central leaders. Their actions, which involve self-inflicted violence and attacks on innocent individuals and their properties, reveal the distorted culture of Awami League. These conspiracies are designed to construct a political narrative of oppression under the guise of terrorism, once again attempting to suppress BNP through misinformation, disinformation, and misrepresentation.


  1. Mass Arrests and Legal Ramifications:

Following the unfortunate incidents, within a day, police and other plaintiffs on Sunday filed at least 28 cases against some 832 named BNP leaders with 21 police stations of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, as almost nobody from the top BNP leadership is spared. One farcical murder case has been filed against BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and 163 other top leaders of BNP in connection with the killing of a police constable.

Among those accused are BNP Standing Committee Members Mirza Abbas, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, and Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Media Cell Convener Zahir Uddin Swapon, Joint Secretary General Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel, and other national figures. Understandably and perhaps unsurprisingly, this case is politically motivated to keep almost the entire BNP leadership in jail prior to the forthcoming national election.

The police, using allegations of violence, vandalism, and destruction purportedly related to BNP’s grand rally, have initiated a series of arrests against BNP leaders and activists from various parts of the country. Since Sunday night, the police have been conducting raids at the residences of top BNP leaders.

Around 9 a.m. on Sunday, they apprehended Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP’s widely admired Secretary General, from his residence in Gulshan. Earlier at 4 a.m., law enforcement surrounded the home of former Minister Mirza Abbas, to apprehend him. However, he was not found at home at the time. Police also conducted raids at the residence of another former Minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, but he was not present, and thus, they could not arrest him.

BNP Vice Chairman Abdul Awal Mintoo’s son, Tajwar Awal, was arrested from their home, after not finding the former. Police conducted a raid at the residence of Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, Joint Secretary General of BNP, in Lalmatia. Failing to find him, they extended the operation to his Banani residence. They also raided the house of Ishraque Hossain, a member of BNP’s International Affairs Committee. When they failed to find him, they apprehended his younger brother Ishfaq Hossain and his driver.

In addition, the police raided residences to arrest Abdus Salam, Convener of Dhaka South BNP; Aminul Haque, Member Secretary of Dhaka North BNP; Sultan Salauhddin Tuku, President of Jubo Dal, and numerous leaders across the country.

In the meantime, a Dhaka-based BNP leader named Abdur Rashid was assaulted and pushed off a building during a rally procession by Awami League members, resulting in his immediate fatality. Additionally, when the police conducted a raid at the residence of SM Ikram Hossain Lablu, a BNP leader from Faridpur, his wife suffered a heart attack due to the police’s use of force, fear, and panic, ultimately leading to her passing.


  1. Resilient Democracy through Restoration of Voting Rights:

Assemblies and rallies in the demand for exercising the right to vote is not a crime. However, obstructing such gatherings is a criminal offense. We remind the members of the administration and law enforcement agencies that they should not continue criminal activities by hindering gatherings aimed at reinstating voting rights.

Sheikh Hasina unleashed gross human rights violations on the streets of Dhaka, through violent attacks on the peaceful grand rally of BNP. The regime has resorted to aggressive assaults and brutal attacks on BNP leaders and activists, hypocritically blaming them for the very brutality they themselves are inflicting.

That deceitful rhetoric has never been, and still is, not believed by anyone. In the face of an anti-people authoritarian government aligned with forces against the will of the people, the entire nation is united today. On one side is violent fascism, on the other, democratic citizens.

One should remember that violence is never the answer. Our movement to restore democracy and voting rights will continue; our resilience will not falter even one bit; and together with the people of Bangladesh and our partners from the democratic world, we will ensure the resignation of this tyrannical regime.

Upholding democratic values with a determination to ensure that peoples’ voices are heard, our primary goal is to ensure a free, fair, and inclusive election under a neutral election-time government. We want to emphasize that our ongoing movement to restore democracy and voting rights will remain peaceful and nonviolent.

The steadfast backing from the public for BNP and other democratic parties, evident in the significant grand rally and preceding events, showcases our elevated morale, unwavering dedication, and well-coordinated public endorsement. This heightened determination, firm commitment, and organized public support would foster the restoration of democracy. The triumph of the people and the reinstatement of voting rights are inevitable!


Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
Bangladesh Nationalist Party