A potato trader and a pick-up driver were killed yesterday in petrol bomb attacks on their way to Dhaka.
The trader was burnt alive as unidentified criminals hurled a petrol bomb at a potato-laden truck at Horgati of Sirajganj district on Dhaka-Bogra highway last night. The driver and helper of the truck sustained injuries, said Ali Farid Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Hatikumrul Highway Police Station.
The identities of the dead and the injured could not be known immediately.
The pick-up driver, Shah Alam, 35, was killed around 12:30am yesterday when he was coming to Dhaka from Chittagong along with his helper Al Amin, 32.
Pickets made the attack on the vehicle when they reached Feni sadar, said Syed Jahangir Alam, officer-in-charge of Mohipal Highway Police Station.
The vehicle went up in flames. As Alam and Amin jumped out, the driver got himself crushed under the wheels.
Doctors at Feni Sadar Hospital later declared Alam dead.
Amin, who was also taken to the hospital by police, has been undergoing treatment for burn injuries.
Meanwhile, the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) has been busy accommodating victims of political violence over the first week of this year.
Since January 1, as many as 15 people, including police and Ansar men and a presiding officer, have been admitted to the hospital. The law enforcers fell victim while discharging their duty ahead of the January 5 national polls.
Police constable Abul Kalam Azad, 40, and presiding officer Saiful Islam, 45, sustained injuries on the election day when they were carrying ballot boxes from a polling centre in Gobindaganj, Gaibandha.
Kalam suffered 14 percent burns and Saiful 12 percent. Their condition is critical as their respiratory organs have been harmed, doctors said.
Kalam's son Sohanur Rahman, a second year student of Higher Secondary Certificate examination, told The Daily Star that their four-member family was in deep trouble since his father had been admitted to the hospital.
“I have never come to Dhaka before. I don't know where to go and how to manage things that my father needs,” Sohanur said.
Another patient, Mohammad Abdullah, 45, sustained burns when opposition men torched the Swarupkhani Govt Primary School polling centre in Baniachong of Habiganj district by a petrol bomb on January 5. Abdullah, an Ansar member, suffered 7 percent burns and inhalation injuries only a few hours ahead of the voting.
He said he had a six-member family to look after and the incident had increased their misery.
A total of 98 people have been admitted to DMCH since October 26 last year, said Partha Shankar Paul, residence surgeon at the burn unit.
So far, 20 victims succumbed to their injuries, while the authorities released 40 others.
Visiting the injured law enforcers at the burn unit, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker said the 10th national election was “fair and peaceful”.
The IGP, who made the visit around 12:00noon, also claimed that police had handled untoward incidents on the election day successfully.
“The general people are finally in peace after the election,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, who also paid a visit to the DMCH burn unit, condemned the ongoing political violence, and urged the political parties to reach a consensus through dialogues.
Another patient, pick-up driver Shariful Islam, 30, was seen writhing in pain at the intensive care unit yesterday afternoon.
Hailed from Kotalipara of Gapalganj, Shariful sustained 32 percent burns with inhalation injuries on January 4 in Barisal.
Opposition men hurled a petrol bomb at the van when Shariful was returning home from Barisal sadar, His relative Delwar Hossain said. The incident also left two others, who accompanied Shariful, with minor injuries.
In another incident in Chittagong, a haulier driver M Mitul, 22, sustained 80 percent burns as blockade supporters hurled a petrol bomb at his vehicle around 10:00pm on Monday. He was admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.