Jamaat men on the rampage
Activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir fiercely clashed with police in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country for a second consecutive day yesterday.
In several districts outside the capital, the Jamaat-Shibir men attacked the law enforcers with sticks, brickbats and handmade cocktails. At least 86 policemen and two journalists were injured in their attacks across the country.
The unruly Islamist party men also looted a shotgun from a policeman in Noakhali and a rifle from another policeman in Rajshahi, police said.
The clashes began as the law enforcers tried to intercept the processions the Jamaat-Shibir men brought out demanding the immediate release of their leaders, including the nine arrested on war crimes charges.
Besides Dhaka, Rajshahi and Noakhali, clashes also took place in Chittagong, Sylhet, Bogra, Pabna, Sirajganj, Thakurgaon, Natore, Narail, Chapainawabganj and Kushtia.
At least 124 people, 85 of them Jamaat-Shibir activists, were wounded in the clashes countrywide. Police arrested 207 Jamaat-Shibir men for attacking the law enforcers and carrying out destructive activities.
Earlier on Monday, at least 260 people, 54 of them policemen, were injured as Jamaat-Shibir men fought pitched battles with law enforcers in Dhaka and 10 other districts.
During yesterday's clashes, the Jamaat-Shibir supporters beat up law enforcers with bamboo sticks, pelted them with brickbats and threw cocktails at them. Police responded by charging batons and firing rubber bullets and teargas canisters.
In the capital, at least 15 people, including eight policemen, were wounded. Police arrested 38 people for attacking them at Malibagh, Mouchak, Rampura and Motijheel.
Jamaat in a written statement said more than 300 of its leaders and workers were arrested and 400 wounded in police action across the country. The statement, signed by Matiur Rahman Akand, assistant secretary of publicity department, called on the people "to build up a mass movement against the fascist government".
In Rajshahi, 30 policemen were wounded in the Jamaat-Shibir attack. In the 40-minute clash that began around 5:30pm, the attackers snatched a rifle from a policeman, said Golam Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police.
Equipped with bamboos and pipes, the Jamaat-Shibir men swooped on police constables Mosharraf Hossain and Saiful Islam of Boalia Police Station and started beating them with their rifles, leaving one of the rifles broken, police said.
Of the injured policemen, Sub-inspector Shahidul Islam and constables Mosharraf Hossain and Saiful Islam were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.
As police fired teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, they hurled handmade cocktails, said the RMP deputy commissioner.
Earlier in the morning, police detained 35 Jamaat-Shibir men from different areas of the district for attempting to commit destructive activities.
In Noakhali, some 50 people, including seven policemen and a journalist, were hurt during the clashes between police and Jamaat-Shibir activists.
The Jamaat-Shibir men hurled at least 25 cocktails, police said.
Equipped with sticks, they swooped on the law enforcers when the latter tried to intercept a procession, demanding the release of their top leaders, witnesses said.
They also snatched a shotgun from a policeman and damaged several vehicles. The injured policemen were taken to Noakhali Medical College Hospital.
The Jamaat-Shibir men claimed that 10 of their supporters were injured in police action.
Following the clash, police raided the local Jamaat office from where they arrested 16 Jamaat-Shibir men and recovered a huge number of sticks, jihadi CDs and leaflets.
"We are trying to recover the shotgun and drives are on to arrest the looters," said Harunur Rashid Hajari, Noakhali Superintendent of Police.
In Rangpur, at least 50 people, including four policemen and a journalist, were wounded as the Jamaat-Shibir men fought with police at Shapla Chattar and Jahaj Company intersection.
In addition to hurling brickbats, the Jamaat-Shibir activists lobbed at least 25 cocktails. They also vandalised a police vehicle and a motorbike, police and witnesses said.
The clash began around 11:00am when Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession from its Rangpur district office at Shapla Chattar.
Police fired five rubber bullets and 25 teargas shells to bring the situation under control.
Mahbubar Rahman Belal, Rangpur city unit Jamaat chief, said about 50 of their leaders and activists were injured in the clash.
According to reports sent by our Sylhet correspondent, more than 50 people, 32 of them policemen, were injured in a clash between police and Jamaat-Shibir men.
Eleven police personnel were admitted to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, said Ataur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Sylhet Kotwali Police Station.
In Chittagong, around 500 Shibir activists in two groups brought out processions from Kazir Dewari intersection around 1:00pm carrying sticks, rods and stones, police said.
Five policemen, including Kotwali Police Station Sub-inspector Amar Kanti, were injured in the attack by the demonstrators, who vandalised a truck, said Swadip Kumar Das, inspector of the station.