A policeman was killed and eight others were injured as alleged BNP-Jamaat activists hurled a bomb at a police van in Rajshahi city yesterday.
The dead, Siddhartha Chandra Sarkar, 23, was a constable of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (riot control division). The injured, all constables in their 20s, were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.
Siddhartha passed away around 9:30pm, one and half hours after he was brought to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital by a private air ambulance.
Earlier on Tuesday, a traffic constable was burned to death in arson attack on a police bus in the capital's Bangla Motor.
In Rajshahi, the bomb assault was made near Loknath High School at Rajahata around 12:30pm while the vehicle was in a convoy of three slowly moving towards Barindra museum point.
About half an hour ago, law enforcers detained some 20 BNP-Jamaat activists at Sonadighi intersection, quarter kilometres off Rajahata, following information of possible subversive activities.
Police believe the blast was in retaliation for the detention. At the time of the incident, BNP-Jamaat men were returning through that road after joining a procession led by Mayor Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul at nearby Malopara.
The blast ripped open Siddhartha's lung, said Asim Sarkar, assistant registrar of surgery unit at RMCH where the policeman was initially admitted.
“We have given him 11 bags of blood,” he said around 4:00pm.
Siddhartha's wife Dipiti Sarkar, also a police constable, rushed to RMCH and her wailing saddened everyone near the operation theatre. They married only a year ago.
As the news of the death reached Rajshahi, his relatives and colleagues exploded with rage. They said RMCH doctors suggested shifting Siddhartha to the capital around 2:00pm. But he was flown five hours later.
The police authorities say the delay was inadvertent as there was no government air ambulance was available.
Meanwhile, doctors removed splinters from the eyes of Towhidul Islam, one of the injured, said Ashim Sarker.
Of the rest, Ananda suffered splinter injuries in the head, Mujib, Raihan and Rafi in the ears while Shahriar, Asad and Sohel in the hands.
Ananda and Shahriar were taken to the intensive care unit, said Ziaur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Boalia Police Station.
Constable Asgar Ali, one of the 18 cops who were on the police van, said a bomb like substance came through the frontal gap of the rear cargo and exploded with a huge bang.
“I was at a loss witnessing my colleagues bleeding,” added the cop, also a batch mate of Siddhartha, who hailed from Kaunia in Rangpur.
Siddhartha was wearing a flak jacket and still he received splinters through the right-side gap, he added.
Another injured constable, Mujib, said, “I could not hear anything since the blast created a long whistle-like sound in my ears.”
Police arrested 10 more BNP-Jamaat-Shibir activists after the bomb attack.
Contacted, Rajshahi city mayor and BNP leader Mosaddek said, “It was a heinous act. I am sure none of our party men was involved.
“It was the act of pro-government forces in a bid to frame the opposition.”