10 injured in gunfight over RHD tender
Rival groups of AL-backed contractors clash on SC premisesStaff Correspondent
At least 10 ruling party activists and roads and highways department contractors were injured in violent clashes allegedly over a tender in the Sarak Bhaban complex on the Supreme Court premises in Dhaka on Tuesday afternoon.
Five of the injured were hit by bullets as rival groups fired gunshots during the clashes.
Roads and highways department sources said that the fighting broke out between rival groups of contractors and employees backed by Sramik League and Swechchhasebak League over a Tk 285 crore tender of the department.
Of the injured, Swechchasebak League publicity secretary Shamim Shahriar, 45, also a contractor of the RHD, contractors Tawhidul Islam, 37, Ripon, 30, and Moshiur Rahman Rajesh, 32, all from Gopalganj district, and RHD driver Zakir Hossain, 38, were sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with bullet wounds.
Witnesses said a group of armed men in a car and on five motorbikes and led by Khandaker Kamal Uddin, secretary of the Sramik League-backed RHD sramik-karmachari union, went to the Sarak Bhaban area at about 4:00pm and opened fire on their rival employees and contractors.
The armed attackers fled the scene after being chased by their rivals and members of the Ansars deployed at the entrances, the witnesses said.
The attackers fired gunshots indiscriminately for about 15 minutes before
being chased away but it was not clear if their rival groups returned fire, RHD deputy director (security), Chowdhury AKM Ruhul Amin told the media.
He said a contractor had told him over phone that before the clashes their rivals had told them that they were coming to teach them a lesson.
‘I immediately informed the Shahbagh police about the matter but the attackers pounced on their rivals, who were staying in the RHD complex, before the police arrived,’ said Ruhul Amin.
The police and Rapid Action Battalion arrived on the scene after the armed attackers left the premises, the witnesses said.
Injured contractor Kazi Masumul Haque, that the two groups had been at daggers drawn since a brawling at the Sarak Bhaban on June 3 over ‘shifting of different offices of the RHD’, in which union leader Iqbal Hossain was injured.
Kamal Uddin, however, claimed that he was not present on the scene.
But, he admitted he had disputes with contractors Shamin Shahriar and Farid Ahmed Sentu over a Tk 282 crore tender of the RHD, which had been suspended before shifting of the RHD and its circle offices to different places in the capital following a court order.
RHD additional chief engineer (Dhaka circle) Mafijul Islam told New Age that a Tk 285 crore tender had been floated in January and suspended in April but denied it had anything to do with the rivalries between the two groups of contractors.
Shahbagh police officer-in-charge Sirajul Islam told New Age that the ‘incident’ had taken place between ‘two groups’ over ‘establishing supremacy’.
The authorities formed a three-member committee led by roads and highways additional chief engineer Quazi Mohammad Ali to investigate the incident and asked it to submit a report in three working days.
Awami Swechchhasebak League general secretary Pankaj Debnath visited the injured activists at the DMCH.
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