Jamaat-Shibir men go on rampage
Attack police, damage and torch vehiclesStaff Correspondent
Militant activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir went on the rampage in the capital and other major cities and towns, including Chittagong, on Monday attacking police, smashing shop windows and damaging vehicles.
Police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disperse the violent agitators in Dhaka and other cities.
The Jamaat-Shibir men also clashed with the police in Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Khulna, Bogra and Faridpur towns to press for ‘dismantling’ of the war crimes tribunals and release of their top leaders facing the trials on charges of crimes against humanity in 1971.
Home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir told reporters that the law enforcers were given necessary instructions to prevent recurrence of such violence as attackers even reached up to the secretariat on the day.
He said 48 Shibir activists were rounded up on the day and they would be brought to justice.
Witnesses said Shibir activists struck terror in the capital’s commercial hub Motijheel in the morning pouncing on the police on duty and torching vehicles.
Wielding hockey sticks, several hundred Shibir men rampaged through Motijheel, Dainik Bangla intersection, Bangabandhu National Stadium area and the vicinity of the secretariat, police and witnesses said.
They damaged buses, cars and SUVs indiscriminately causing panic among the office goers in the morning rush hours, witnesses said.
The witnesses said the violence continued until police reinforcements backed by armoured cars arrived.
During the half-an-hour vandalism, the Shibir men damaged at least 50 vehicles and torched four others at Motijheel, GPO, Zero Point and the secretariat area.
The Shibir men also attacked and damaged a protection car of the finance minister leaving a constable injured. More than a dozen shops were vandalised by the demonstrators.
About 20 people, including 12 police men were injured in the clashes, said Motijheel division deputy commissioner Anwar Hossain. He admitted that they had no prior information of the attack.
At least 50 Shibir leaders and activists were arrested at Motijheel, the police said. Some bottles containing petrol and sticks were seized from the Shibir men.
During interrogation, the detained Shibir men admitted that they had brought a number of fellow activists from outside the capital to carry out the attacks on the day.
Police reinforcements and armoured cars were deployed at different strategic points in the capital after the violence.
In Chittagong at least 12 police men were injured in sudden attacks by Jamaat-Shibir activists in Kotwali area and Banshkhali in the morning.
Witnesses and police said the activists had brought out a procession from Chambal Bazaar area under Banshkhali upazila around midday. The militant activists started hurling stones when police tried to stop the marchers.
At one point, the Jamaat-Shibir men pounced on the police with sticks leaving at least 10 police men injured. Police fired in the air to disperse the demonstrators.
The police arrested Jamaat’s Banshkhali upazila ameer Zahirul Islam after the violence.
In Chittagong city, two constables of Kotwali police station, Mohammad Jamal and Masud Karim, sustained injuries when Shibir activists hurled stones at a police car.
New Age correspondent in Dinajpur said Jamaat-Shibir activists had attacked police and damaged two police pick-up vans during demonstrations at Munshipara of the town at about 11:00 am. Police sub-inspector Mamun and two constables were injured in the attack.
Our Rajshahi correspondent said Shibir activists had clashed with the police in Binodpur area of the city in the morning leaving 18 injured, including three police men. Police arrested five Shibir activists in raids in the city.
Witnesses said that Shibir activists at Binodpur Bazaar adjacent to the Rajshahi University campus brought out a procession at around 10:00am demanding release of Jamaat leaders.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the stone-throwing Shibir men. Eighteen people were injured in the clashes.
New Age correspondent in Khulna reported that Jamaat-Shibir activists had staged protests at Gallamari, three kilometres from Khulna city. The demonstrators were dispersed by the police.
The authorities asked the law enforcers not to allow any processions or rallies by Jamaat-Shibir in Khulna city.
In Faridpur, Asrafuzzaman Dulal, district correspondent of daily Sangram, was detained by Kotwali police at Janata Bank crossing of the town in the morning.
Witnesses said that he was taking snaps of the clashes between Shibir men and police at about 10:30am when the police detained him. Dulal was first taken to the DB office and later kept in the Kotwali police custody.
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