‘Jamaat’ triggers waves of violence

The anti-Shahbagh movement activists carried out frenzied attacks across the country, including in capital Dhaka, during a protest programme called by the 12 ‘Islamist’ and likeminded parties after Friday prayers.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 22 Feb 2013, 12:51 PM
Updated : 23 Feb 2013, 00:24 AM

They ransacked and torched replicas of -Shahbagh agitation and Shaheed Minars, and clashed with police in Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Bogra and several other places.

At least four people, including a madrasa teacher, were killed and scores injured during the programme called demanding ‘punishment to anti-religious bloggers’.

After the convulsion of violence, the 12 ‘Islamist’ and likeminded parties called a country-wide shutdown for Sunday alleging police obstructions to their programme.

They held the Friday protest after the Shahbagh demonstrators announced special prayers at places of worship the same day for death penalty for the convicted war criminals and a ban on Jamaat.

Even though there was heavy police deployment in the capital to thwart any possible subversive acts of the ‘Islamists’, a reign of terror was unleashed at different places, including Baitul Mukarram, Paltan, Kantaban and Mirpur in the capital.

Police said activists of Jamaat, whose several leaders are standing trials for crimes against humanity perpetrated during the Liberation War in 1971, used the protest call to ‘fight back’.

Journalists were targets of the protesters from the beginning of the programme. Several journalists, including Senior Reporter of Maasranga Television Abdullah Tuhin and ATN Bangla cameraman Imran Tuhin, were injured in their attacks.

Bdnews24.com Staff Correspondent Kamal Hossain Talukder said the activists of the ‘Islamist’ parties ransacked a gate, raised in front of Workers’ Party office in support of the demand for capital punishment to the war criminals, while marching towards the National Press Club from Baitul Mokarram after the Friday prayers.

At one stage, they launched attacks on police, prompting the law-enforcers to respond with teargas shells and rubber bullets.

According to eyewitnesses, several crude bombs were exploded during the clash, in which five more journalists, two policemen and 17 others were injured.

The injured journalists are Gazi Television reporter Masudur Rahman, Daily Sangbad reporter Saif Bablu, Independent Television cameraman Nurul Islam, Janakantha photojournalist Sheikh Mamun Rasheed and Dhaka Reporters’ Unity Entertainment Secretary Aminul Haq Bhuiyan. All but Bhuiyan were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Wari Police Station Constable Abdul Jalil, 40, was injured in Kaptanbazar when a brickbat hit him. Lalbagh Police’s Assistant Commissioner (Ppatrol) Rezaul Karim was injured hurt as protesters, who took out a procession from Kantaban mosque, hurled brickbats on the law-enforcers.

When asked whether the Jamaat activists, who have been running riot across the country for the last three months, were involved in the clashes riding on the programmes of other Islamist organizations, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Motijheel Circle) Sheikh Nazmul Alam told reporters: “I see something like that. We’ll look into the issue.”

Before the Friday prayers, several people told bdnews24.com that activists of Jamaat and Shibir were instigating members of their like-minded parties like Khelafat Majlish, Khelafat Andolon and Islami Oikya Jote to go berserk.

The DMP’s Deputy Commissioner (Media) said 172 people were held in the capital for their ‘involvement’ in violence.

Reports of clashes also came in from Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi and other areas. In post-Juma prayers violence, two people were killed in Gaibandha and one each in Sylhet and Jhenaidah districts, the police said.

bdnews24.com Sylhet Correspondent said at least 30 people were injured, 10 of them hit by bullets, in clashes between radicals and police in the areas stretching from Chauhatta to Zindabazar in the city. Of the injured, one unidentified youth died at Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital.

Kotwali Police Station Officer-in-Charge Ataur Rahman told bdnews24.com that 56 people were rounded up after the clashes.

Jhenaidah Correspondent reported that violence ensued when a group of youths intercepted a procession taken out by anti-Shahbagh movement people. Arabic teacher of the district town’s Siddiqia Alia Madrasa Abdus Salam, 55, died of beating during the clash.
The district’s Additional Police Superintendent Md Hasanuzzman said the law-enforcers fired several rounds of teargas shell to control the situation. Around 50 people, including two journalists, were injured, he said.
bdnews24.com Gaibandha Correspondent said a group of demonstrators, under the banner of Hefajat-e-Islam, attacked and vandalised the protest podium, built to express solidarity with the 'Ganajagaran Mancha' in Shahbagh, in the district’s Palashbarhi upazila headquarters.
Police Superintendent AKM Nahidul Islam said the clashes broke out when the law enforces tried to stop the so-called Islamists from vandalising the podium. At least 50 people, including police personnel, were injured during the clash.
At least five people sustained bullet injuries when police opened fire to control the situation. Two of them died on their way to hospital but could not be identified immediately.
The Islamists also clashed with the law-enforcers in Gaibandha town. Police arrested 20 people from the two spots.
The Rajshahi Correspondent said attacks were made on the replica of Shahbagh Mancha in the city, after which police held activists of Jamaat and Shibir for their suspected link.
Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Moniruzzman told bdnews24.com: “Actually Jamaat-Shibir men carried out the attacks under the banner of ‘Iman O Akida Hefajat Committee.”
In retaliation, the angry mob ransacked the Rajshahi Corporate branch of Jamaat-financed Islami Bank at Alupatti.
Running battles between police and Jamaat supporters took places at different places, including Kumarparha, Sahebbazar, Sonadighi, Lakshmipur and Ramubazar in the city.
Metropolitan Detective Branch OC Alamgir Hossain said at least 25 policemen were injured during the clashes.