About 6:00am. Eid day.
A 15-member police team took position near Azim Uddin High School. Led by Md Shamsuddin, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Pakundia Police Station in Kishoreganj, they set up a checkpost.
Around 6:30am, people started for the Eidgah. Many chose to pass through this checkpoint as for them it’s a shortcut to the historic Sholakia Eidgah.
The police were alert. Anyone carrying bags or found suspicious was frisked.
“Their number was growing and there was a swarm of people from 8:00am. Many were carrying jainamaj in bags and we asked them to leave the bags and carry jainamaj in hands,” said Shamsuddin.
The officer himself was searching people. He said everything looked okay until some seven to eight youths -- all in Panjabi and aged around 20 -- were seen approaching the checkpost.
“It seemed they were hesitant to cross the point and suddenly there was an explosion,” said the OC, who was undergoing treatment at Kishoreganj Sadar Hospital for minor injuries, told The Daily Star on Thursday night.
Some members of the police team fell to the ground. Seconds later, there was another explosion that left one constable critically injured.
“Some of us started shooting while the attackers swooped on others, firing and welding machetes.”
Shamsuddin said six policemen were injured in blasts and the machete attacks.
“The blast left one seriously injured. I saw that the attacker who died during exchange of gunfire had hacked a constable in the shoulder,” said the officer, who amid shooting dispatched a wireless message for immediate reinforcement.
The attackers with firearms in one hand and a machete in the other were trying to make their way to the road that leads to the Sholakia ground.
“Meanwhile, reinforcement from nearby checkpoints and places came to support us while the fight continued. I heard people shouting, ‘catch them, catch them’.”
One attacker was killed during the hour-long battle while another survived bullet wound.
“The youth, who was bullet-hit and captured alive, had been trying to continue the fight with one firearm and a machete while others [his associates] probably had fled.”
While narrating the event, Shamsuddin appeared upset.
“As we were at the checkpost in the morning of Eid, I told my team members that SP sir invited us to his residence for lunch when our duty is over. Then we will go on leave and meet our families. None of us had that lunch,” he said.
“We are going to meet our families sooner or later but not my two colleagues who died while fighting the militants.”
About 6:00am. Eid day.