Shibir men attack puja mandap
When the Hindu community started celebrating their biggest religious festival, Durga Puja, across the country yesterday, the Hindus at Damurhuda upazila in Chuadanga witnessed vandalism at one of their places of worship.
Activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked a puja mandap in Darshana bus stand area in the upazila, breaking the electric lights around it and vandalising a platform designated for guests.
A Shibir activist was killed when police fired on the marauding activists to drive them away from the Carew Sarbajanin Puja Mandap and stop them from attacking police.
The deceased, Rafiqul Islam, 23, is a student of Badarganj Baqi Billah Madrasa of Boalia village in the upazila.
The pro-Jamaat organisation yesterday staged nationwide protests, demanding release of their leaders, including Shibir president Delwar Hossain, and resorted to vandalism in different parts of the country.
Around 100 Shibir activists brought out a procession at Darshana town at about 3:45pm as part of their pre-scheduled programmes and gathered near the bus stand after marching different streets, police and witnesses said.
On information, a team from Damurhuda Police Station led by officer-in-charge Ahsan Habib rushed to the scene and asked them to leave.
"The Shibir men left the spot and took position at Haltchadpur near the puja mandap, vandalised the lights and the platform partially," Abdur Rahim Shah Chowdhury, district superintendent of police, told The Daily Star.
Police fired tear gas shells but failed to disperse the protesters, who were throwing brick chips at police. Then they fired 15 rounds of bullets, one of which hit Rafiqul. Around 10 other Shibir activists were injured in the incident, said police.
The SP, who was on the spot, said the Shibir men had wanted to instigate communal violence by attacking the place of worship, adding, “We have brought the situation under control.”
Contacted, Ajoy Kumar, president of the puja mandap, confirmed the incident, saying police had not let the activists approach the mandap after driving them away.
Additional members of police and Border Guard Bangladesh have been deployed in different areas of Darshana since last evening.
The SP said police were preparing to launch a drive to arrest the attackers.
Shibir leaders in Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga and Jhenidah called a hartal in the districts for Sunday from 6:00am to 2:00pm in protest at the killing.