Chaos reported from outside Dhaka | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 23, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 23, 2007

Chaos reported from outside Dhaka

The countrywide chaos that erupted from Dhaka University campus on Monday further spread yesterday, leaving one person killed and several hundred injured.
Clashes triggered by the agitating people and the law enforcers took place in the capital and elsewhere in the country. Huge public and private properties were destroyed.
One person was killed and around 200 including police and journalists were injured during day-long clashes yesterday between police and thousands of students in and around Rajshahi University (RU), turning the entire Motihar area into a battlefield.
Police arrested two students from the campus, one of whom is Rustom Ali, a first year student of the history department, while the other's identity could not be ascertained immediately.
Angry students damaged the vice-chancellor's (VC) residence and set fire to furniture. They also torched four vehicles on the campus including three in the VC's garage.
They barricaded Rajshahi-Dhaka highway in the morning felling trees, and set tires on fire at several points on the road stopping all vehicular movement.
Although the demonstrations had begun in protest at police attack on Dhaka University students, soon the demonstrating RU students started demanding withdrawal of the state of emergency. They also demanded removal of police from the campus.
The dead was a 35-year old rickshaw puller, Anwar, of Dasmari area near the campus.
He died instantly after being hit in the chest by a hail of rubber bullets around 12:00pm when police were entering the campus to secure the vice-chancellor's residence from the hands of angry students.
The demonstrating students later brought out a procession carrying Anwar's body.
Mahbubur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, claimed that about 20 police personnel were injured with five of them being in critical condition. He said about 300 tear gas shells and 150 rubber bullets were fired during the clashes.
Replying to questions, he said, "The police action on the campus was taken following directives from the university administration."
The students started pouring onto the campus from their dormitories and from outside early in the morning. At 8:30am hundreds of students embarked on a peaceful march protesting the DU incidents and in support of yesterday's student strike there.
Police intercepted the march and dispersed it on the pretext of the state of emergency when it reached the administrative building parading through campus streets.
Soon after being dispersed the demonstrators regrouped again with sticks and stones in their hands and started clashing with police.
Around 9:00am, the situation worsened when police fired two tear gas shells at the students. Several hundred students started moving forward in formations pelting police with stones, and at one stage they forced the law enforcers to retreat through the main gate.
Police and students clashed for more than an hour at the main gate, where police fired a number of tear gas canisters again, while the students kept pelting them with stones. That led to about 100 students being hurt.
Five of the injured students were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, and RU Medical Centre.
After an hour of fighting the police, students captured the main gate and took position on the highway. They took control of the highway at Binodpur setting fire to tires at several points.
Police took position at Kajla gate and continued fighting the students.
While a group of students kept the highway under their control, another group went to the VC's residence around 10:30am. They tried to break through the main gate of the residence and damaged the police box in front of it.
The demonstrators cut off electricity, telephone, cable TV connection, and water lines to the residence.
As newsmen were taking photos of the demonstrators at the VC's residence, the students started beating them, instigated by some Islami Chhatra Shibir cadres.
They assaulted The Daily Star staff correspondent Anwar Ali damaging his camera and mobile phone. As he disclosed his identity, some Shibir cadres got more enraged and started beating him again with renewed enthusiasm.
The Daily Star's RU correspondent Abu Kalam, and the daily Prothom Alo's Rajshahi correspondent Swaran Sarkar were also assaulted as they tried to save Anwar.
The Prothom Alo's photojournalist Azhar Uddin was hurt as a stone hit him on the mouth near RU Medical Centre. He was also injured in the leg from a shooting tear gas canister during the fight on Dhaka-Rajshahi highway.
Bangla Vision reporter Zahid Hasan was also injured in front of the VC's residence.
The students entered the VC's residence breaking the main gate at 12:00pm, while some senior teachers including some students' advisers were trying to calm the students.
Soon the students started pelting the teachers with stones, prompting them to take shelter on the first floor of the VC's residence.
Two teachers, Jahangir Babu and Jahangir Alam, were injured during the melee.
The students set furniture on fire on the ground floor, and as Pro-VC Prof Mamnunul Keramat approached the students, they assaulted him.
The students then went on to ransack the lounge in the residence and broke a photocopier machine, and two computers.
They also torched three vehicles out of the five in the VC's garage. Later, they declared the residence captured by them, setting fire to tires and damaging furniture in front of it.
VC Prof Dr Altaf Hossain and several senior teachers were confined on the first floor.
Following the VC's request, about a hundred riot police from four directions rushed to the residence firing rubber bullets and recaptured it from the students within 15 minutes.
The slain rickshaw puller, Anwar, and his student passenger Abir were hit by bullets as they were crossing Folklore Square when police entered the campus blazing their guns to take control of the VC's residence.
Dispersed from the VC's residence, the students regrouped again near the RU stadium.
They attacked the police camp set up at RU gymnasium, prompting police to counter attack, as the students set fire to the camp.
Police fired a large number of tear gas shells and rubber bullets to recapture the police camp as the students were throwing brickbats at the law enforcers. About 50 persons were injured in the clash.
The students demanded immediate lifting of the state of emergency, and removal of police from the campus.
They also demanded compensation for the slain rickshaw puller and ensuring of proper treatment for the injured students.
Progotishil Teachers' Society (PTS) of RU yesterday issued a statement condemning the violence on RU campus. They demanded removal of the present officials of the RU administration blaming them for the incidents.
They said the students were holding their pre-scheduled programmes peacefully, but certain fundamentalist party members got locked in clashes with police sparking the violence, the statement said without naming anyone.
The situation went out of control as police charged batons on students, and fired tear gas shells while the administration remained mum, the statement went on.
PTS leaders tried to calm the demonstrating students and police, but they failed.
The teachers went to the VC's residence and asked him to stop the police atrocity, but the administration decided not to do anything, alleged the statement.
Taking the opportunity of the volatile situation, Shibir cadres damaged rehearsal rooms of different cultural organisations in the Racsu Bhaban, the PTS statement said, where the teachers also strongly protested the assaults on journalists by the Shibir cadres.
Thousands of people including students in marauding mood burst into violence in much of the capital yesterday attacking and vandalising many government and private installations including a police box.
Police fired hundreds of rounds from shotguns and lobbed teargas shells as the demonstrators pelted stones and brickbats at them turning many city areas into virtual battlegrounds. Around 300 people including many policemen were injured.
The worst trouble spots included Gulistan, Fulbaria, Bangabazar, Raishaheb Bazar, Nayabazar, Sadarghat, English Road, Nawabpur, Mouchak, Malibagh, Kakrail crossing, Mohakhali and the areas adjoining Tejgaon College at Farmgate and Government Bangla College in Mirpur.
Demonstrators set fire to more than a dozen vehicles and damaged windowpanes of several hundred running vehicles in the areas. They also barricaded major city streets halting vehicular traffic that caused immense sufferings to commuters, particularly school children. A large number of people got stranded in wayside markets and shops.
A large number of hawkers and street urchins yesterday joined the demonstrations started by students on Monday, and they looted valuables from many wayside shops and mugged people prompting businessmen to shut down their business establishments.
Demonstrators attacked Sergeant Ahad Police Box at Gulistan at noon. In the face of the mob attack, policemen left it with their arms and other important items. The attackers vandalised furniture and took away some valuables including some files.
Several hundred students of Jagannath University took out a procession from the campus. Several hundred other demonstrators from Kabi Nazrul Islam and Suhrawardy College in the area later joined the procession.
The demonstrators, many of whom carried sticks, paraded Johnson Road and English Road without police interception. About half an hour later, they turned violent and ransacked around a dozen buses and microbuses parked near Victoria Park.
The marchers then pelted stones and brickbats at government offices including the deputy commissioner's (DC) office and Dhaka courts. They also damaged several vehicles parked on the DC's office premises and on nearby roads.
A number of people, particularly vendors, hawkers and street urchins, joined the students and went on a rampage.
At this stage, police in riot gear cracked down on the demonstrators firing shotguns, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. They also resorted to baton charge to disperse the demonstrators, who then spread to Nayabazar, Fulbaria and Gulistan areas.
The demonstrators smashed windowpanes of many buildings housing banks, government offices and business installations on both sides of the roads from Gulistan to Sadarghat.
They entered a DESA office on English Road at around 2:00pm, brought out two pick-up vans, two motorcycles and a huge quantity of electric wire from there and set fire to those on the nearby road. A CNG-run autorickshaw was also set afire on English Road.
They also pelted stones at an office of Bangladesh Bank at Sadarghat, First Security Bank, Mercantile Bank, Eastern Bank Ltd and a Chinese hotel.
The unruly crowd also tore down electric traffic signals and traffic sheds on some roads. They also blasted home-made bombs during clashes with police.
They set fire to a BRTC bus at Fulbaria.
Meanwhile, other demonstrators set fire to a BRTC double-decker bus and a microbus at Kamlapur, two vehicles at Dhanmondi, one bus at Shankar and another near the Home Economics College.
All proceedings of Dhaka courts were suspended at 11:30am yesterday due to repeated attacks on those by unruly hawkers and small traders. Windowpanes of several government and private vehicles parked on the court premises were smashed.
Members of Dhaka Bar Association brought out a procession on the court premises protesting Monday's army attack on students. They also demanded immediate withdrawal of the emergency power ordinance.
The incident created panic among judges and magistrates at the courts of district and sessions judge, metropolitan sessions judge, district magistrate and chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) and lawyers and litigants.
At 12:15pm, the unruly people attacked the lower courts with sticks and bricks and damaged windows of a number of magistrates' courts. They also damaged some of windows of the judges' courts and district magistrate's court.
The mob ransacked police club, district parishad bhaban and many shops in the area.
At one stage, police swung into action to bring the situation under control. Several policemen and pedestrians were injured in the violence.
More than one hundred vehicles were vandalised and several set on fire at different points on the roads in Malibagh, Mouchak, Kakrail, Shantinagar and Purana Paltan areas as demonstrators clashed with police.
Police fired shotguns, used teargas canisters and charged batons to disperse them.
Witnesses said students of different educational institutions including Siddheswari College, Habibullah Bahar College and Abujar Giffari College brought out processions in the areas at about 10:00am. Several hundred locals joined them, chanted slogans and barricaded some roads in the areas.
The demonstrators, particularly the local people, vandalised passenger buses and other vehicles at several traffic signals in Malibagh, Mouchak and Kakrail areas.
Shops on both sides of the roads downed their shutters following the incidents.
At least 100 students were injured in fierce clashes with the law enforcers in front of Sir AF Rahman Hall on the Dhaka University (DU) campus, Nilkhet, Palashi and New Market.
The clashes erupted at about 12:15pm.
Dhaka University Teachers' Association brought out a protest rally at around 11:30am from Aparajeyo Bangla to the Central Shaheed Minar on the campus.
As the teachers gathered at the foot of the Aparajeyo Bangla, several hundred students joined them chanting slogans.
The students, mostly the activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, Bangladesh Chhatra League and some left wing student organisations, demanded immediate withdrawal of police from the campus.
After the rally, the teachers along with the students held a meeting at the Shaheed Minar and demanded lifting of the state of emergency immediate and bringing back democratic environment.
Later, the agitating students went to Nilkhet intersection where a police camp is located.
Finding police presence in the camp, the students got furious and tried to attack the police camp. Police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse them.
At that time, agitators from Palashi and New Market attacked police pelting brickbats.
As the mob and the students intensified their effort, police started fired to disperse the crowd.
At one stage, the students brought petrol from the adjacent DU transport office and tried to set fire to the police camp.
Students used corrugated iron sheets to save themselves from rubber bullets as police fired blank shots.
The protestors also blocked Nilkhet-Palashi Road with big branches of trees.
Two ambulances were seen carrying wounded students frequently.
Mohakhali and Farmgate areas turned into a battlefield as students of Government Titumir College and Tejgaon College clashed with police demanding withdrawal of the state of emergency. Small traders also joined them in the clashes.
The agitating mob pelted stones at windowpanes of Square Centre, owned by Energy Adviser Tapan Chowdhury, at Mohakhali Wireless Gate area at 11:30am. They also vandalised three vehicles inside the centre.
Around 400 students of Titumir College vandalised more than 20 vehicles including three cars of different media houses at Mohakhali flyover area at 10:45am.
Traffic on the road stretching from Mohakhali to Gulshan-1 remained snapped throughout the day.
Police lobbed tear gas canisters and charged batons to disperse the demonstrators injuring 15, including newsmen and police.
Tejgaon College students brought out a procession at 11:30am and vandalised several cars on the road stretching from Farmgate to Khejurbagan. Vehicular movement on the road remained snapped from 11:30am to 1:00pm.
Police lobbed tear gas and charged batons to disperse the demonstrators.
Around 200 people including students, teachers, journalists and police were injured yesterday as thousands of students at various universities and colleges across the country locked in clashes with police on the third day of violence.
In violent protests against police excesses against students of Dhaka University (DU) following Monday's clash, students all over the country ransacked structures, vandalised vehicles, and barricaded highways and roads.
Many agitating students of various educational institutions also boycotted examinations and classes.
Rail and road communications between the northern region and the rest of the country remained snapped as students of Bogra Government Azizul Haq College put up barricades on rail tracks and on Bogra-Rangpur highway, reports UNB.
Traffic on Dhaka-Aricha highway was interrupted for five hours as JU students blocked the highway protesting the incidents at DU.
Around 30 people including the university proctor Prof Sayed Kamrul Hasan and Superintendent of Police Matiur Rahman were injured during a demonstration staged by the students.
The JU students blockaded the highway after police dispersed a student procession brought out at 9:00am. Long queue of vehicles, stretching upto several kilometres on the highway, remained stranded during that time.
Police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the demonstrators, triggering chase and counter-chase between the students and law enforcers. Around 50 teachers also took position on the highway, expressing their solidarity with the students' demands.
Classes and examinations were suspended as the "Students Against Harassment" enforced a student strike at JU. In the afternoon, the students brought out processions on the campus.
Over 40 students, teachers and police were injured in a clash on CU campus.
Witnesses said students brought out a procession on the campus at around 9.15am in support of student strike. They vandalised a minibus and ransacked a police box on the railway station premises as well as rooms and windowpanes of Commerce Faculty and the Academic building of CU.
The situation was subdued after a half-hour-long chase and counter-chase between police and the students.
Meanwhile, Prof Jasim Uddin, proctor of CU, said the CU authorities have decided to vacate the dormitories by 6:30pm yesterday as per government instruction.
Our Barisal correspondent reports: At least 58 people including police, journalists and students of BM College, Govt Hatem Ali College and Amrita Lal Dey College were injured in clashes between students and police.
Students also ransacked a number of shops and vehicles during protests on Tuesday night and yesterday morning.
At about 10:30pm on Tuesday night, students at BM College damaged 26 rooms of different departments, hostels, auditorium, canteen, college principal's residence and other buildings on the campus.
The clashes spread about two kilometres from Nathullabad to Natunbazar police checkpoint when police resorted to baton charge and fired about 50 rounds of tear gas cell and rubber bullet.
The students put up barricades on roads, set fire on tyres and damaged the motorcycle of the Prothom Alo correspondent, 4 shops and 8 rickshaws.
Following the pandemonium, the college academic council at an emergency meeting suspended classes till August 26.
Our staff correspondent from Khulna reports: At least 30 people including nine police and a journalist were injured in fierce clashes between BL University College students and police at about 10:30am.
At one stage, angry students set fire to tyres at different places at Daulatpur and put up roadblocks on the Khulna-Jessore Highway from 11:00am to 2:00pm, suspending traffic movement.
Students of 14 departments of the college abstained from taking examinations in protest at police action.
Students of Azam Khan Commerce College and Majid Memorial City College also brought out processions and ransacked roadside shops.
Students at Khulna University formed human chain on the campus at about 11:00am and later brought out a silent procession in protest at police excesses on the DU students.
Our Mymensingh correspondent reports: At least 10 journalists were injured when some students from a silent procession swooped on them at the Sangbadik Samity office of the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU).
UNB reports: Fierce clashes between students and transport workers on Tongi-Ghorashal road near Pubail Degree College left at least 20 students injured.
Witnesses said the incident played out when angry students, who were protesting at Monday's incident on the DU campus, put barricade on the road following a rumour that a female student of the college was killed in road accident, ensuing clashes with transport workers at about 11:00am.
At one stage, they torched a bus and two motorcycles. They also damaged a number of vehicles on the road, disrupting traffic for three hours.
Sylhet staff correspondent reports: Teachers of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology (SUST) wore black badges in protest at police excesses on the DU students.
The university teachers at a rally demanded immediate withdrawal of police from all university campuses.
No classes or examinations were held at the SUST and Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU) in support of countrywide student strike.
Our other district correspondents report: Students of Patuakhali Science & Technology University (PSTU), Baufal Degree College in Patuakhali, Islamic University at Kustia, students of Netrakona University College, Sirajganj University Collage, Islamia Degree Collage and Solonga Degree College in Sirajganj, Gaibandha Govt University College, DWD Degree College in Gaibandha, Carmichael College in Rangpur and Satkhira Government College and Satkhira City College and Faridpur Rajendra University College also brought out processions.

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