A stone extraction worker was killed and about 20 others were injured in clashes between workers and law enforcers in Bhajanpur area of Panchagarh’s Tentulia yesterday.
Jumar Uddin, 60, suffered excessive bleeding and there were multiple holes in his body, said doctors at Panchagarh Modern General Hospital, where he died.
Several workers told reporters that police opened fire on them. But police said the law enforcers only lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the crowds.
The clashes started around 9:45am when the workers, demanding permission for extracting stones from underground, blocked Panchagarh-Banglabandha highway in Bhajanpur.
The administration banned stone extraction about six months ago to prevent potential landslides.
The workers vandalised three police vehicles and hurled brickbats at policemen, officials said.
Sporadic clashes continued until around 2:00pm.
For years, locals have been extracting stones using excavators and improvised apparatuses in Tentulia, officials said.
Frustrated stone extractors gathered at Bhajanpur Bazar Saturday night and announced that they would block the road.
After the workers blocked the highway yesterday morning, police rushed to the scene and tried to disperse the crowd.
But the protesters started hurling brickbats, triggering a clash. To calm the situation, a team of Rab-13 from Nilphamari joined police, officials said.
The protesters also assaulted journalists who were taking photos at the scene.
Three police men, three Rab men and nine injured others were taken to Panchagarh hospital. Jumar died around 3:00pm.
Sirajuddoula, resident medical officer at the hospital, said there were multiple small holes on Jumar’s back.
Four of the seriously injured people were taken to Rangpur Medical College Hospital later.
Asked about the death, Mohammad Yusuf Ali, superintendent of police in the district, said the cause of Jumar’s death would be known after autopsy.
Multiple cases would be filed over the incidents, said Johurul Islam, officer-in-charge of Tentulia Police Station.