Traders beat up DB men
Drug traders confined and beat up three plainclothes personnel of Detective Branch (DB) as they allegedly took bribes during a raid on some drug stores on Mitford Road in Old Dhaka yesterday.
Incensed by the frequent bribe demands, several hundred traders of around 20 drug and chemical markets rolled down the shutters of their shops for around two and a half hours from 1:30pm.
They took to the streets chanting slogans against the DB men accusing the law enforcers of taking bribes in the name of conducting drives for contraband drugs.
Failing in the first attempt to rescue the three, a police reinforcement team accompanied by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) reached the spot around 2:30pm and rescued the DB men.
Traders said a team of about eight DB personnel reached Rahim Market on Mitford Road around 12:30pm and took a bribe of Tk 50,000 from a shop owner. They demanded bribe from two other shops in two nearby markets.
As the news spread, traders and employees from the adjacent markets thronged the Rahim Market and chased the DB team.
Sensing imminent danger, three of the team took shelter at BCDM Bhaban on the road and locked the gate of the market, while the others managed to flee.
The agitating traders damaged a drug store, SA Traders, in the market as its employees give the DB men shelter, said witnesses.
The agitators eventually managed to enter the market. They caught hold of the DB men and gave them a sound thrashing.
Contacted, Deputy Commissioner (Lalbagh) of DMP Harun-ur-Rashid said they rescued the DB men and handed them over to the DB authorities.
He however declined to disclose the identities of the rescued and make any comment about the alleged bribery incident.
Quoting the rescued, he said the DB team raided several drug stores on information that some outlets stored contraband drugs.
Talking to The Daily Star, traders complained that plainclothes DB men conduct frequent drives at the drug stores in which no official from the Drug Administration take part. Last week the law enforcers conducted three drives there.
The traders however admitted to possessing some contraband drugs used in treating cancer and other grave diseases.
Despite repeated attempts, this newspaper could not reach the DB officials over the phone for their version of the incident.