Law enforcers trying to remove Hefajat-e Islam men blocking Dhaka-Chittagong highway near Signboard area in Narayanganj yesterday morning. Photo: Focus Bangla
At least 27 people, including three lawmen, died in clashes between law enforcers and Hefajat activists who struck terror in Narayanganj, Hathazari and Bagerhat yesterday, hours after Hefajat men were flushed out of the capital's Motijheel.
Twenty of the victims, including two policemen and a BGB soldier, were killed in Narayanganj, six at Hathazari in Chittagong and one in Bagerhat during the running battles that also left more that 200 people injured, relatives and hospital sources said.
One of the Hathazari victims is an army sergeant who had been on leave and had been visiting his village home in the area's Alimpur.
Earlier on Sunday, and in the wee hours yesterday, 13 other people, including a police sub-inspector, were killed in clashes between Hefajat, police and Awami League activists and in a raid to drive away the Islamist group's men from Shapla Chattar.
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, however, told reporters at his secretariat office yesterday afternoon that in all nine people, including three law enforcers, died in the clashes over the last two days in the capital.
To avoid further violence, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police imposed a ban on all rallies and processions in the city till midnight yesterday.
The city's Kanchpur and Signboard areas turned into a battleground during an eight-hour clash after around 1,000 locals of Shiddirganj joined the Hefajat men following false announcements using the mikes of local mosques that police attacked Madaninagar Madrasa students, police and witnesses said.
The students and teachers of the madrasa took to the Dhaka-Chittagong highway before the madrasa after Fajr prayers on hearing that the Hefajat men had been driven out from Shapla Chattar, prompting the law enforcers to swing into action.
Police fired several hundred gunshots, rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse the Hefajat men and the locals who threw brickbats and stones at police, Rab and BGB men and attacked them with bamboo sticks. Police said the Hefajat men also hurled over 100 cocktails at them.
Activists of the Islamist group ran riot on at least 10 points on a three-kilometre stretch on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway from Signboard to Kanchpur Bridge.
They also vandalised and torched about 10 vehicles, including a Rapid Action Battalion car, and set fire to a police outpost on the highway.
Traffic on the highway remained suspended for eight hours until police brought the situation under control around 1:00pm.
Police constable Zakaria, 44, and nayek Firoz Khan, 53, were beaten to death. Nayek subedar Shah Alam, 55, of BGB was also beaten death, police said.
The 17 other victims are locals -- Shawkat Hossain Badhan, 18, a student of Daniya College in the capital, Marzanul Islam Sourav, 16, an SSC examinee of Sheikh Mortuza High School, water vendor Nazir Hossain, 30, Nizamul Haq Nizam, 28, rickshaw puller Habibur Rahman, 30, construction worker Abdul Gafur, 30, welding worker Abu Bakkar Siddique Palash, 25, van puller Sadeq Mia, 32, garment factory employees Md Hannan, 32, and Rubel, 25, auto-rickshaw driver Jasim Uddin, 32, covered van helper Mizanur Rahman, 20, shop employee Saiful, 36, Babu, 36, Saidul, 28, Jewel, 25, and another Rubel, 22.
At least six people were killed and 50 others, including five policemen, injured in running battles between Hefajat men and police in Hathazari of the port city.
The dead are Abu Noman, Anwar Jahed, Mohammad Mamun, sergeant Saidur Rahman, Sajjad Hossain and Mohammad Jasim.
Since early morning, the Hefajat men put up blockades on different spots on Chittagong-Rangamati road and Chittagong-Khagrachhari road, said AKM Liakat Ali, officer-in-charge of Hathazari Police Station.
Around 1:30pm, an announcement came from a nearby madrasa that Hefajat chief Shah Ahmed Shafi was arrested in Dhaka, said Abul Kashem, inspector of the station.
At this, the madrasa students, who are also Hefajat men, along with some locals fought with police, BGB and Rab members.
They swooped on the law enforcers with sticks and iron rods and hurled bricks.
Law enforcers fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse them.
In Bagerhat, one Hefajat activist was killed and at least 20 other people, including lawmen and journalists, were wounded in clashes at Chulkathi and Katakhali intersections on Khulna-Mongla highway and at Town Noapara and Kathaltola areas.
The victim could not be identified.
Witnesses said the Hefajat men staged a demonstration, blocking the Khulna-Mongla road with logs and vandalised several vehicles following a rumour that some Hefajat men of the district were shot dead by police at Motijheel on Sunday night.