At least 25 people were injured in a factional clash of Ulema League, ruling Awami League-backed Islamic clerics’ organisation, in front of National Press Club, in the capital on Saturday.
Police and witnesses said both the groups gathered in front of the Press Club to hold their scheduled human chain, protesting against militancy in the country around 10:30am.
Around 11:00am, some 200 activists led by Ismail Hossain Bin Helali, a factional president, started their programme.
This is when another smaller group, led by a different president Akhter Hossain Bokhari, began their human chain at the same place simultaneously.
Both the groups started exchanging heated speech on their respective loudspeakers against each other.
Moments later, some Helali group people swooped on the rival Bokhari group with sticks in front of the police. At least 12 people of Bokhari group were injured.
The injured include Bokhari-led faction’s secretary Abul Hasan Sheikh Shariatpuri.
Helali blamed Bokhari people for being Jamaat-e-Islam-minded and upholding anti-Bangladesh sentiment.
‘That is why we chased them away,’ Helali said.
Bokhari denied the allegation and claimed that Helali group does not truly belong to Awami League.
The secretary of the Bokhari group, Abul Hasan, said, prime minister Sheikh Hasina sent him to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj this year, which proved that ‘Bokharis are real Awami League men.’
The officer-in-charge of Shahbagh police, Abu Bakar Siddique, said both the groups were connected with Awami League thoughts. They locked in scuffle over holding programme.
Helali group continued their programme till 12:15pm after chasing Bokhari group away, witnesses said.
The Ulema League drew attention of media as they echoed a number of demands of the Hefazat-e-Islam, a platform of Islamic scholars backed by qawmi madrassah teachers and students. The Qawmi madrassah system is widely established in Bangladesh, and encompasses a significant platform alongside the other religious education system, the Alia madrassah system.