The motorcycle of a traffic policeman was torched and a police box vandalised over allegations of police trying to extort money from a lorry driver in Anwara upazila of Chittagong yesterday.
No causality was reported but vehicular movement was suspended on Chattogram-Banshkhali Highway for around two hours.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Anwara Police Station Dulal Mahmud said the incident took place at Chaturi-Chowmuhuni Bazar when Assistant Town Sub-Inspector (ATSI) Anwar Hossain signalled the driver of a lorry to stop to check its documents around 11:00am.
“Traffic police were checking the documents of the lorry from Banshkhali with driver Rubel inside the police box. At that time, a group of local people started vandalising the police box and torched the motorbike of Anwar,” the OC said.
Quoting transport workers, local journalists said traffic police used to extort money from motor vehicle drivers at eight to 10 spots of the highway and harass them if they refused to pay.
Yesterday, ATSI Anwar and one of his informers named Munna signalled the lorry and took the driver into the police box to check the vehicle's documents, the journalists said, adding that Anwar later demanded money from driver Rubel, 27, although he had all updated documents.
The journalists also said as Rubel refused to pay, police informer Munna slapped Rubel, triggering a scuffle inside the police box. At one point, seeing the matter, Rubel's helper parked the lorry across the road, blocking vehicular movement.
Later, hearing a hue and cry, other transport workers and locals went to the police box and started an altercation with police. They also vandalised the police box and torched the motorbike.
“Rubel was with police when some locals and transport workers attacked the police box,” said OC Dulal, adding that a team of police rushed in and brought the situation under control.
The traffic movement also became normal after two hours, around 1:30pm.
When asked, the OC denied the allegations of extortion.
Rubel was released later.