4 killed in Lakshmipur, 2 elsewhereStaff Correspondent
At least six people, four in Lakshmipur, died in violence as law enforcers fired into blockaders and blockaders attacked vehicles on the last of the 144-hour countrywide blockade of road, railway and waterways the opposition started enforcing on Saturday.
Jamaat and Shibir activists, shortly after the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami’s assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Molla, went on the rampage, vandalising and burning vehicles and attacking police stations, government offices and shops in different places across the country.
Four died in Lakshmipur as the Rapid Action Battalion fired into blockaders; another died in Comilla in police firing. A trucker died after being wounded in a clash in Feni.
More than 500 became wounded in clashes in Lakshmipur, Comilla, Rajshahi, Narayanganj and Satkhira. About a 100 of them were injured with bullets.
The opposition alliance enforced this third spell of blockade after the second one for 131 hours beginning on November 30 and the first one for 71 hours beginning November 26.
The home ministry in a press note, meanwhile, said that BNP and Jamaat-Shibir activists had attacked the Rapid Action Battalion in Lakshmipur with stones and locally-made weapons and RAB personnel had to take action to protect lives and property and four people had died in the violence.
The ministry also said that two people had become severely wounded as BNP and Jamaat-Shibir activists had attacked people opposing blockade at Nalta of Kaliganj in Satkhira with sticks and iron rods.
The note said that police subinspector Kamal had been injured in the attack by Shibir in the Sylhet city and trucker Mahbubul Alam died from his injures in Chittagong Medical College Hospital after being wounded near the Lemua bridge in Feni.
As the law enforcement agencies remained alert, no other casualties took place on the day, the ministry statement said adding that security measures that were needed had also been taken in the capital and other important places to protect public property and lives.
In Lakshmipur, clashes broke out early dawn when Rapid Action Battalion raided the house of the district
BNP unit’s general secretary Shahabuddin Sabu and fired indiscriminately after facing resistance put by people. Shahabuddin was seriously injured. The house was vandalised and vehicles parked in the yard were burnt.
Shahabuddin’s younger brother Abul Kalam Azad said that goons accompanying a RAB team began firing indiscriminately after entering the house and burnt three cars parked in the yard.
The battalion took away Shahabuddin, who was hit with a bullet, BNP leader Azizul Karim Bachchu and two of their caretakers.
As the news spread in the town, Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal activists brought out a procession from in front of Adarsha Samad High School and as it reached Chawkbazar and exploded some crude bombs, the battalion fired into the procession.
BNP activists Nesar Ahmed, Mahbubur Rahman and Suman, Juba Dal leader Iqbal Mahmud Jewel, Shibir activist Shihab and others sustained bullet injuries.
Shihab, Mahbubur and Suman died on their way to hospital, the New Age correspondent in Lakshmipur said. The identity of the other deceased could not be immediately established.
The district BNP claimed that Juba Dal leader Iqbal Mahmud Jewel had died in in police firing but it could not be confirmed.
In sequel to the incident, two clashes between opposition activists and the battalion took place near Aliya Madrassah and Jhumur Cinema in the town where also law enforcers fired gunshots.
Twenty-five of the 40 injured, including NSI member Anwar Hossain, sustained bullet injuries.
The additional superintendent of police, Sk Shariful Islam, said that four people had died in clashes but could not establish their identity.
The Lakshmipur police officer-in-charge, Lokman Hossain, confirmed the death of four people while the battalion claimed that three people had died.
The RAB 11 commanding officer, Major Shahed, told New Age that they did not carry out any operation in Lakshmipur. ‘The [RAB] headquarters knows about it better,’ he said.
The battalion’s director (media and legal wing) at the headquarters, Wing Commander ATM Habibur Rahman, told New Age that they had only taken ‘lawful action.’
He claimed that police and Border Guard Bangladesh personnel were also there when the battalion had taken action.
The additional superintendent of police, however, set aside the battalion’s claim. He said, ‘Only RAB launched operation in Sabu’s house. We [the police] went there to contain the situation after the battalion’s firing.’
Ziaul Ahsan, additional director general of the battalion, said that the BNP-led alliance had clashed with RAB personnel several times since Thursday afternoon.
He said that local people had confined battalion personnel to the police lines for several hours, but they were rescued in helicopter sent from Dhaka.
In protest at the incident, the alliance had called a daylong general strike in the district for Saturday.
In Comilla, a Shibir activist died when the police attacked a procession at Manoharganj about 7:30pm.
The clash continued for about half an hour leaving at least 30 Shibir men injured with bullets.
Of the injured Anwar, 20, was pronounced dead after he had been taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
In Feni, covered-van driver Mahbubul Alam, 33, died in Chittagong Medical College Hospital in the morning. He became wounded in the head as blockaders pelted his van with stones on Mahipal Hazari Road in Feni early Thursday, police subinspector Jahirul Islam said.
Police constables Abu Sufian and Nurul Karim were injured in bomb explosion as Jamaat-Shibir men clashed with the police in Palli Bidyut area after Jamaat-e-Islami leader Quader Molla’s petition seeking a review of his death penalty had been rejected about midday, Feni police (Detective Branch) inspector Rashed Khan Chowdhury said.
In Jessore, train communications between Khulna and other parts of the country remained suspended as the railway was uprooted at Shingia in the district headquarters soon after the announcement of the rejection of Quader Molla’s review petition. ‘A mob had gathered on the railway for a few hours,’ he added.
In Sylhet, at least 15 people, including a policeman, were injured in a clash between Jamaat-Shibir activists and the police on Osmani Medical College Road in the city during the daylong general strike on Thursday.
The police and witnesses said that a group of Shibir activists had blocked the Osmani Medical College Road with logs about 8:00am.
A clash broke out as the police chased the blockaders and the police fired teargas shells and more than 20 rounds to disperse them, leaving 15 people, including assistant subinspector Abul Kalam, injured.
In Rajshahi, at least 50 people became injured as Jamaat and Shibir actviists clashed with law enforcers at Saheb Bazar, Shalbagan, Binodpur, Kajla, Dingadoba and Devising Para in the city.
Shibir activists also vandalised a police car in front Rajshahi College, the RMP commissioner, Mahbubur Rahman, said. The police arrested five Shibir activists at places in the city.
In Pabna, at least 10 people were injured in a clash between the police and Jamaat and Shibir activists in a bus terminal in the town.
In Chittagong, at least two people, including a police officer, were injured in an attack on a Awami League rally at Andarkilla in the city on Thursday. Jamaat activists also set an ambulance on fire and exploded several crude bombs.
Violence, arson and attacks on vehicles were also reported from Bogra, Barisal, Munshiganj, Gaibandha and Cox’s Bazar.
During the blockade, the capital remained shut off from most of the country as road communications broke down. Sporadic cases of bomb explosion were reported from different parts of the city.
No long-route buses left or entered the capital city while vehicle movement inside was less than on a normal day.
Shortly after Quader Molla’s execution, Jamaat and Shibir men went on the rampage in Chittagong, setting government offices on fire and damaging vehicles.
The Bandar police station in Chittagog was attacked while Jamaat and Shibir activists blocked the Dhaka–Chittagong Highway at Lohagara, Satkania and Sitakunda.
Jamaat and Shibir activists also dug a road that connects Bandarban and Keranihat.
In Sylhet, the Jalalabad police station was attacked about 11:00pm. The officer-in-charge, Monsur Hossain, said that a group of unnamed miscreants exploded 15 to 20 crude bombs into the police station.
Jamaat and Shibir activists set fire to the Moglabazar railway station in Sylhet.
They also exploded bombs on the Rajshahi University campus and clashed with the law enforcers at Binodpur, near the university campus.
Jamaat and Shibir activists set fire to a local market in Nilphamari while the local administration asked people not to run vehicles on Dhaka– Rangpur Highway.
Jamaat and Shibir activists also set fire to a Juba Unnayan office at Uttam in Rangpur.
The parental house of the International Crimes Tribunal 1 judge Jahangir Hossain at Senbag in Noakhali came under attack.
Jamaat and Shibir vandalised two branches of the Mercantile Bank and the Jamuna Bank in Chapainawabganj.
Miscreants also set fire to the Fazilpur railway station and a Palli Bidyut office in Feni.
Jamaat and Shibir clashed with the police and ruling Awami League activists at Bahubal in Habiganj.
They also attacked the Ullapara police station in Sirajganj, leading to a clash with the law enforcers.
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