An alleged arsonist was shot dead during a “gunfight” with law enforcers in Chapainawabganj yesterday as violence, arson and hit-and-run attacks by blockade supporters continued across the country.
According to Rapid Action Battalion, Motiur Rahman, 22, a union-level leader of pro-BNP Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, was the main man behind arson and bomb attacks in Chapainawabganj, reports our district correspondent there.
The BNP has called a 36-hour hartal from tomorrow in Rajshahi division protesting the killing.
Major Kamruzzaman, commander of Chapainawabganj camp of Rab-5, said Rab personnel in a special drive arrested three people -- Motiur, Hazrat and Shyamal -- at Kansat around 3:00pm on Thursday for their alleged involvement in recent destructive activities in the area.
Motiur admitted to have torched and hurled crude bombs at goods-laden trucks at Muslimpur and Rasulpur of Shibganj on Wednesday, the major said.
A Rab team then took Motiur to a mango orchard in Kansat “for arresting his accomplices and recovering arms and explosives” around 3:00am, he claimed.
He said Motiur's accomplices started firing indiscriminately and throwing homemade bombs at the Rab team forcing the Rab men to retaliate and sparking a 20-minute "gunfight".
Motiur sustained bullet injuries while trying to flee and had died on the spot, he said, adding that a pistol, a revolver, two light guns, two other guns, three magazines, five bullets, 17 crude bombs, 10 petrol bombs and five sharp weapons were found on the spot.
Rab media wing claimed that Motiur was the main man behind the arson and bomb attacks on vehicles that had been carried out during BNP-led 20-party alliance's blockade.
However, Motiur's father Unshakh Ali Montu said, "Rab took him away unlawfully from an eggplant field near his house and killed him. I want justice after proper investigation."
Motiur was a student of Kansat Soleyman Ali Degree College and the vice-president of JCD's Shyampur union.
Shahjahan Mia, president of Chapainawabganj district BNP and district coordinator of 20-party alliance, alleged Motiur was a victim of "extrajudicial killing".
"The joint forces of Rab, BGB and police are carrying out atrocities in some areas of Chapainawabganj. They have orders from the government to kill. They raided some villages of Shibganj-Kansat and killed opposition leaders and activists, torched many of their houses,” BNP's Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said.
Rab said criminals had been torching and hurling crude bombs and petrol bombs at goods-laden trucks and vehicles of law enforcers almost every day in Chapainawabganj.
The elite force claimed to have been conducting special drives to control the situation since Thursday.
Meanwhile, pro-blockade pickets torched and vandalised several vehicles and exploded crude bombs in the capital and several districts on the 11th day of the ongoing blockade.
At least 11 vehicles were burnt across the country yesterday, seven of them in Dhaka, said fire service officials. Our correspondents, however, have reported five more incidents of arson attacks on vehicles.
In Sirajganj, a trucker suffered burns after blockaders hurled petrol bombs at his tomato-laden truck near the Bangabandhu Bridge late Thursday.
In Feni, blockaders hurled a petrol bomb at a truck near Charipur BSCIC Industrial Area, burning the driver, and set fire to a CNG-run three-wheeler at Chairman Ghat.
In Noakhali, pro-blockade pickets set fire to a vegetable laden truck at Mandari Bazar, leaving five including the driver and his assistant with burn injuries. The assistant was sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in a critical condition.
Two trucks and a lorry were torched at Sitakunda's Fakirhat in Chittagong late Thursday night.
Arson attacks on a truck in Rajshahi and a lorry in Barisal were also reported.