Within 24 hours of hurling bombs at police, Islami Chhatra Shibir men yesterday unleashed a pre-planned attack on the law enforcers again, leaving four injured, one critically, and snatching a pistol, a walkie-talkie and a safety helmet.
Around 150 Shibir men arrived at Shalbagan in the city from different directions around 10:30am. About a dozen unsuspecting armed policemen were standing guard by the main road. In a flash, the Shibir men transformed themselves into a violent mob, unleashing a direct attack on the on-duty policemen, witnesses said.
Before the policemen could realise what was happening, the attackers hurled several powerful cocktails, spreading chaos and confusion in the area. The law enforcers, enveloped in thick smoke from the blasts, ran for cover firing rubber bullets at the attackers. But the attack was so intense that they could not hold ground for long, the witnesses added.
As the policemen tried to recover from the shock and confusion, the attackers showered them with brickbats, pinning down one of their colleagues on the main road Sub-inspector (SI) Jahangir Alam, the in-charge of Upashahar police camp and the team leader there.
The Shibir assailants took off Jahangir’s helmet and wrestled him down on the road. A Shibir man kept hitting him on the head with his helmet, said the police and witnesses.
As Jahangir fell on the ground, some Shibir men held him down, while others brought in a supply of bricks and hit Jahangir ruthlessly on the head.
When the brutal assault was seemingly over, the attackers pelted the helpless policeman with more brickbats. Profusely bleeding from his head injuries, Jahangir was lying unconscious on the road.
One of the attackers, wearing a red shirt, slipped his hand into the holster of the unconscious policeman and made away with the pistol. Another, wearing a blue T-shirt, left the scene with Jahangir’s helmet and walkie-talkie.
As Jahangir lay unconscious on the road, panicked residents, shopkeepers and pedestrians deserted the area. Suddenly, a young man and a woman rushed to the injured policeman, screaming for help.
The young man stopped a battery-operated three-wheeler, while the woman aided by a third person lifted the injured man onto the vehicle and took him to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital with the crushed head of the police officer on her lap.
At least four other policemen were also injured in the 30-minute-long Shibir mayhem, said SM Moniruzzaman, commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP).
RMCH neurosurgeon Dr Ekramullah said Jahangir needed several stitches for his head injuries. “He is still under observation, although he regained senses after treatment,” he added.
Of the other injured policemen, Shafikul Islam was admitted to RMCH, while Latifur Haider and Zakir Hossain were admitted to Police Lines Hospital after primary treatment at RMCH.
“We fired several shots from shotguns, but the attackers started blasting bombs one after another forcing us to look for shelter,” said Latifur who received splinters in the right hand.
“As we advanced to save sir [Jahangir], they blasted bombs targeting us,” said Shafikul who received several splinters also in the right hand.
Police arrested five Shibir men including one with a machete, said Ziaur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Boalia police. He said Shibir men had made the attack in a planned way.
Attacks on the police by Jamaat-Shibir across the country have been well planned and deliberate since war crimes convict Delwar Hossain Sayedee was given capital punishment on February 28.
Since then, eight policemen have been killed and 267 injured, 37 critically, in clashes with Jamaat-Shibir men across the country.
On Sunday, Shibir men in a hit-and-run attack hurled several bombs at the police in the city, severing the right wrist of an SI.