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Scuffles between AL, BNP lawyers again

‘Scandalous’ SCBA election ends

17 March 2023
‘Scandalous’ SCBA election ends

Awami League and BNP-backed lawyers engage in scuffle on the second day of election into the Supreme Court Bar Association in the capital on Thursday. NN photo

Gulam Rabbani :
The most 'scandalous' election in the history of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the most influential professional organization of the country, has completed with repeated incidents of violence also in the second consecutive day.
The pro-government lawyers of the SCBA has held a totally one-sided election for their organization by forming an election conducting committee without due procedure. They also took strict police protection during the election.
Not only pro-BNP lawyers, non-partisan common lawyers were also not seen to cast vote in the election held in two day elections. However, the election conducting committee announced that 4137 votes were cast in two days.
Pro-BNP lawyers alleged that pro-government lawyers sealed the ballots as their will as the common lawyers were largely absent from the election.
Noted Supreme Court Lawyer ZI Khan Panna told a media that he had never seen police enter the Supreme Court and attack people, not even during the military regime.
Meanwhile, the second day of the election was also full of violence as the two camps of lawyers chased each others on the Supreme Court premises for several times.
Appearing in the Appellate Division the Pro-BNP lawyers on Thursday morning made a complaint to Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique regarding the one-sided election process of the Supreme Court Bar Association and police attack on the lawyers and journalists.
Then the Chief Justice met the lawyers in his personal chamber during the break of the court proceedings. At that time, former Attorney General AJ Mohammad Ali, Barrister AM Mahbub Uddin Khokan and Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kajal pointed out the incidents those were took place on the first day of the election to the Chief Justice.
After the meeting with the Chief Justice, Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kazal briefed to the reporters. He said they had reported to the Chief Justice over the situation that took place on Wednesday centering the election and police attack on them. The Chief Justice assured them to take initiative over the issue after a consultation with the Attorney General, added the lawyer.
Later the Chief Justice also talked to the Attorney General AM Amin Uddin over the issue. The Attorney General later
briefed to the journalists over Chief Justice's reply to the pro-BNP lawyers.
Attorney General said the Chief Justice told him that he had nothing to do over the issue as it is a matter of the Bar (Bar Association). Chief Justice asked the lawyers to solve the problem properly by consulting with the senior members of the bar, also said the Attorney General.
Meanwhile, the lawyers of the both sides engaged in scuffles outside the polling centre for several times during the second day of the election. There were clashes between pro-Awami League and pro-BNP lawyers on the first day as well, with police getting involved in the incident and attacking journalists covering the incident, as well as pro-BNP lawyers.
However, the police did not intervene during scuffles on Thursday. The scuffles erupted at 12pm and 4pm on Thursday, during the gatherings of lawyers. Each of the gatherings lasted for around an hour.
Two sides were shouting slogans at each other, with one group repeatedly chanting "vote thief, vote thief", while the other side responded with their own slogans. The situation soon escalated, leading to physical altercations and a chaotic scene.
Barrister Kazal also the Secretary candidate of pro-BNP lawyers' panel said, "We will continue our protesting program till meet our demands to hold a fresh election by forming a fresh election conducting committee".     
Earlier, the second day of the SCBA election went underway amid strict security measures. The election process began at 10:30am, and police had been deployed in large numbers around the bar association premises, given the possibility of clashes during the election.  
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq expressed regret over police's attack on journalists at the Supreme Court premises. Muhammad Harun Or Rashid, chief of Detective Branch of Police, came to meet leaders of Law Reporters' Forum (LRF) at the Supreme Court on Thursday where he held a discussion with them and also gave a formal speech.
He expressed regret over the incident and said the attacks on journalists were completely unintentional during his speech. The DB chief assured the journalist community that police would work to prevent such incidents in the future.
Following Harun's formal speech, DMP Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq spoke with LRF President Ashutosh Sarkar over phone and expressed regret over the attack. During the discussion, journalist leaders told Ramna ADC Harun Or Rashid to be more careful and not misbehave with journalists in the future.

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