The latest arson victim at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital is a freedom fighter.
Sexagenarian Meher Ali was sitting in his home at Monirampur in Jessore, when arsonists hurled a flaming bottle of petrol at him. He suffered 25 percent burns.
"It was right after dinner around 9:00pm. I was sitting on my front porch, when seven or eight people crept up from behind, threw a bottle of liquid at me and fled," Meher told The Daily Star yesterday.
The incident happened on December 24 and he was brought to the DMCH burn unit the next day.
Contacted, Monirampur Police Station Officer-in-charge Mir Rezaul Hossain said: "We found the burnt plastic bottle on the spot."
Ali is also the vice-president of Chaluahati union Awami League in Jessore.
"This is the second time in his life that he has become a victim of arson attack for being who he is -- the first time was in 1971 when the collaborators of the Pakistani forces suspected he was with the guerillas. They burnt down our homestead, but dad escaped unhurt. But this time…," his eldest son Mohammad Khodabaksh left the sentence unfinished, and looked at his father.
Ali, who worked as a spy for the guerillas during the war, said: "I feel like giving up the idea of an independent nation that Mujibur [Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] had given me, but it is difficult to let go of the dream.
"I was 25 years old then. I gave valuable information to the guerillas that helped them blow up bridges and carry out operations."
Khodabaksh said his father had been very vocal against the arson attacks over the past few months and even publicly protested such violence. This might have brought the attack on him.
"They cannot make me vote for them by burning me," ranted the freedom fighter in his bed.
Meanwhile, the condition of Shahjahan, who was burnt when arsonists set fire to a CNG he was travelling by on Saturday, remained unchanged yesterday.
The 30-year-old from Mymensingh suffered 31 percent burns, and his pain is so much that anyone entering the Intensive Care Unit could hear him groan.
"He cried all night. He neither slept himself, nor let anyone else sleep," said his aunt, Ambia.
His wife or anyone else of his family was yet to see him.
"It is good that way -- I doubt his wife could bear to see him in this state. His lips are so swollen, the bottom lip is hanging down to his chin," said Ambia.
The pain in his throat was caused by flames and pollutants that damaged his respiratory tract, said burn unit resident surgeon Partha Shankar Paul.
Police constable Faizul Islam, who was burnt in an arson attack on a police bus on Tuesday, was having the same difficulties.
The authorities are ready to take him to Singapore if needs be, said Khan Muhammed Rajowan, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (traffic division).