At least four people lost their lives in the clashes between activists of Hifazat-e Islam, backed by Jamaat-e-Islami, and police in the streets surrounding the Baitul Mukarram in the capital on Sunday.
Paltan, Gulistan, Bijoynagar and Kakrail, which are hardly a
mile away from the Hifazat rally taking place at Motijheel commercial hub, have
turned into a battle cone as activists of the radical Islamist group are
fighting pitched battles with the law enforcers
Police said a helper of a
bus they had requisitioned was killed and more than 50 were injured in the
clashes. They said two more people died of their injuries later. (Video)
the two was ‘Mamun’, 21 and the other is yet to be identified, Dhaka Medical
College and Hospital (DMCH) Police Camp Inspector Muzzamel Haque told
Kamal Uddin Khan, an official of Desh Insurance
Ltd, died of heart complications after being brought to the DMCH, his relative
Khandaker Jubayer Raihan told bdnews24.com.
He said Kamal had felt sick
after getting stuck in the middle of the clash near Motijheel in the
Police and witnesses said a group of Hifazat activists, fighting
the law enforcers on their way to the rally, allegedly vandalised and torched
the headquarters of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) at Purana
At least 15 crude bombs exploded in front of the ruling Awami
League’s headquarters at the Bangabandhu Avenue at around 1:45pm.
soon erupted at the Bangabandhu Avenue and quickly spread to surrounding areas
turning the whole of the Paltan into a battlefield.
Witnesses said the
explosions took place when several Hifazat processions were heading towards
Motijheel to join the group’s rally.
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir
has alleged that the activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student affiliate
Islami Chhatra Shibir had carried out the attacks on the Awami League
headquarters and were engaged in clashes under the guise of the Hifazat
Statements of the police and witnesses substantiated the
claim of the minister.
The violence erupted after authorities permitted
the Hifazat to hold its 3pm rally at Shapla Chattar in busy Motijheel earlier in
the day. The clearance came amidst the Hifazat's Dhaka blockade that has
effectively cut off the capital from most districts since early
The Hifazat blockade programme aims to pressure the government
into accepting the controversial 13-point charter of demands.
picketing in support of the blockade took place on Demra road, where Hifazat
supporters were seen tearing down film posters. “Curbs on obscenity in films’ is
one of Hifazat’s key demands.
The Hifazat activists stated moving towards
Motijheel rally venue from different gateways to the city including Jatrabarhi,
Demra, Uttara and Gabtali after their road blockade until noon.
ensued when a group of Hifazat activists tried to proceed breaking the police
barricade at Baitul Mukarram UCBL Crossing.
The protesters hurled police
with brickbats and the law enforcers fired rubber bullets and tear shells. Soon
the clashes spread to Baitul Mukarram north gate and Bijoynagar.
clashes at the Bangabandhu Avenue erupted as around 15 crude bombs exploded in
front of the Awami League office. Several people were seen being evacuated from
there on vans after the clashes.
A witness named Shahadat Hossain said he
saw several attackers wielding small arms. He also heard ‘Naraye Takbir’ slogans
from among the attackers, who vandalised at least 15 vehicles.
stage, Awami League activists were involved in the clashes that later spilled
into Stadium, Rajuk Bhaban, Gulistan and Golap Shah Mazar areas.
continued firing rubber bullets and teargas shells to control the situation. A
bullet hit Siddiqur Rahman, 28, the helper of a Hanif Paribahan in the
Driver of the bus ‘Jewel’ told bdnews24.com that Siddiqur took the
bullet standing near the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
He was rushed to
the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital. Doctor ‘Pratap’ at the hospital said he
died of excessive bleeding.
bdnews24.com Jagannath University
Correspondent Mobarak Hossain reports from the hospital that 48 of the injured
in clashes were admitted there. Quoting doctors, he said roughly 90 percent of
the injured were hit by bullets.
The Hifazat activists vandalised the
shops on the ground floor of Mukti Bhaban, the headquarters of Communist Party
of Bangladesh (CPB), breaking open the gate of the building. They broke the
window glasses up to the fourth floor of the building throwing
At one stage, police from Paltan intersection started firing
rubber bullets and teargas shells on the protesters taking position at Baitul
Mukarram north gate. The protesters responded to the police action by hurling
Police said one of their members, Piarul Islam, 35, was
injured when the attackers set fire to Bijoynagar Traffic Police Box. He was
admitted to the burns unit of the DMCH.
As the clashes were continuing in
the areas surrounding the Baitul Mukarram, the Home Minister told reporters at
the Secretariat: “Contact has been made with Hifazat. They (Hifazat) said those
who have created havoc are not their activists… Jamaat-Shibir activists have
done it under the guise of Hifazat.”
The sound of teargas shell firing
and crude bomb explosions was being heard from the Secretariat when the minister
was speaking to journalists.
Asked why Hifazat was given the permission
to hold the rally after rejection of their appeal initially, Alamgir said:
“They’ve been given the permission as per the Constitution. They’ve resorted to
violence though they were support to hold the rally peacefully.”
the attacks on CPB office, party President Mujahidul Islam Selim said: “It’s
normal that the anti-liberation force will have anger against our organisation,
which was involved in struggles for democracy and movement for
“They’ve again exposed their fascist characters,” he