Demonstrators of the Ganajagaran Mancha chased away hundreds of Hifazat-e Islam activists when they marched in a rally towards Shahbagh from Motijheel.
The Hifazat activists started heading for Shahbagh’s Prajanma Chattar through Matsya Bhaban at around 5pm on Saturday. As police obstructed them, they ran into Ramna Park breaking its iron fencing and again moved towards Shahbagh.
As they reached near Dhaka Club, police obstructed them again. The law enforcers also fired several blank shots to disperse them.
Learning about the Hifazat advances, the Ganajagaran Mancha demonstrators, armed with bamboo sticks, chased them. The Hifazat activists hurled brickbats at them after retreating to the park again.
Activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami-backed radical group also detonated several crude bombs in front of the state guest house Jamuna on Minto Road at Kakrail while fleeing.
The protesters also caught and beat two of the Hifazat men.
Hifazat activists also beat and injured a youth named Sadikur Rahman in Ramna Park and he was taken to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
At DMCH, he told reporters that the Hifazat men attacked him when he was crossing the park on his way to home from work.
As the news of Hifazat men’s march towards Shahbagh spread, thousands of Dhaka University students came out of their dormitories in small processions. They gathered at Raju Sculpture of the TSC intersection and chanted anti-Jamaat and anti-Hifazat slogans.
Meanwhile, Imran H Sarker, spokesperson for the Mancha, immediately took the stage and told everyone, “Please calm down. We have always been non-violent and will remain non-violent.”
He said the Ganajagaran movement was the ‘second War of Independence’. “You all should join this second War of Independence.”
Earlier in the day, the Hifazat-e Islam held a rally at the capital’s Motijheel demanding punishment to the ‘atheist’ bloggers of the Shahbagh, who allegedly insulted Islam and Prophet Mohammad. The BNP-led 18-Party Alliance had also extended support to the radical group.
On the other hand, 25 socio-cultural-professional organisations called a 24-hour shutdown from 6pm Friday to thwart the Hifazat programme and press for a ban on the politics Jamaat-e-Islami.
The Ganajagaran Mancha also enforced a 22-hour nationwide transport blockade starting from the same time to resist the Hifazat moves.