A scuffle broke out on Saturday night during a meeting to settle a dispute between two factions of the Bangladeshi community over an upcoming parade set to take place on June 16th. Over 100 people, mainly elders of the community, joined in an effort to settle a silly dispute between the two factions over a pantomime.
One faction, those who opposed the election of Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, managed to surreptitiously push through papers that would allow them to hold a parade next week, according to Mr Akhtaruzzaman.
Mr Akhtaruzzaman during the opening of the meeting stated that the sole aim of the parade without his consent was to undermine his authority in the community.
While another faction signed a petition, with about 500 signatures to nullify the municipal permission for the forthcoming parade. Mr Akhtaruzzaman being the elected representative of the community as well as the 2nd Ward councilman attempted to reconcile the two parties with a planned meeting in 236 Union Avenue.
During the gathering a number of influential men delivered speeches asking both parties to cease their hostilities. One man even gave a speech imploring both sides to embrace each other, and rather than fighting to love one and another. The last speaker, who is referred by others as the “professor” got up in front of the audience and delivered a speech which some in attendance found to be offensive. It was that last speech that roused the audience members into a fight that resulted in 2 individuals being assaulted.
While the aforementioned individual was speaking a man in the audience shouted a slur at him while another – possibly a friend of the speaker – shouted back expletives. As the shouting match continued Mr Akhtaruzzaman attempted to calm the crowd, but to no avail. Blows were exchanged, the fight spilled into the hallway of the building, where it ceased to be an individual contest – one man attempted to beat another with a plastic chair.
All this while many were attempting to break up the tussle including Mr Akhtaruzzaman who from the beginning to the end put forth efforts to calm the situation, but the roused parties continued their brawl ignoring him and many others’ physical attempt at breaking up the conflict.
By the time police responded much of the fighting ended. Seeing the crowd, a lone officer came out of his vehicle with a can of mace, tapping it on his belt to signal he would use it; the officer told the crowd to disperse or he would diffuse them.
During last week’s City Council workshop a group of Bangladeshi-Americans attended in hopes of canceling the parade for the 16th of June, permission for which was obtained by Dewan Bojlu Chowdhury, a resident of Haledon. Mr Chowdhury apparently worked with others to bypass Mr Akhtaruzzaman in order to procure permits for his parade.
The issue which was supposed to be resolved at the meeting brought about a much larger one with those who engaged in violence at the event accusing each other of assault.