12:00 AM, September 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:26 AM, September 12, 2018

Panic grips Bede Palli after attack

Following rumours, dozens of houses vandalised, looted by locals in Noakhali Sadar

A damaged house in Bede Palli in Noakhali's Purba Eojbalia village. The photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Star

The residents of a Bede (gypsy) Palli in Noakhali Sadar upazila are in fear following an attack on their homes on Monday night.

On Friday, a teenage girl from the Bede Palli went to a shop at Purba Eojbalia Bazar to buy an ice-cream when the shopkeeper hurled abusive words at her. Following the matter, an altercation ensued between the bedes, locals and the shopkeeper. At one stage, they clashed, bedes said. 

During the clash, a 17-year-old boy named Tarek Aziz suffered burn injuries as some hot oil from a large frying pan at a shop fell on him. He has been undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

On Monday evening, a rumour spread that the boy died and locals attacked the Bede Palli, where over 1,000 bedes live, in Purba Eojbalia village, the bedes added.

The attackers vandalised and looted 32 tin-roofed houses, 10 tents and 25 shanties. At least 10 houses were torched and 110 snakes were burnt to death. Six bedes were injured in the attack.

On information, police went to the spot and fired 70 shots in the air to bring the situation under control. After the incident, some bedes left their homes in fear of further attacks.

A tense situation is prevailing in the area.

Locals said they often locked in altercations with the bedes over “illegal activities” at the Bede Palli. 

Two cases were filed with Sudharam Model Police Station in connection with Monday's incident. Five people were arrested.

Anwar Hossain, officer-in-charge of the police station, said Zaker Sarder, on behalf of the bedes, filed a case accusing 25 people by name and several other unknown ones. 

Delwar Hossain, father of Tarek, lodged another case against 13 people by name and some unknown ones.

A police camp has been set up in the area to avert any further untoward incident, the OC said.