More than a hundred people were injured as leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami fought running battles with the police for the second straight day on Tuesday in the capital and other parts of the country.
Police picked up at least 50 Jamaat supporters after the clashes broke out at Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal, Rangpur, Bogra, Gaibandha and Sirajganj.
Eye-witnesses said the local offices of the Jamaat in Rangpur and Bogra were set on fire by agitated residents following the clashes.
The right-wing party has been demanding release of their leaders detained and put on trial for their alleged roles in crimes committed against humanity during the nation’s War of Independence in 1971.
The Police sued over 400 activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami in three cases on Tuesday, a day after clashes at Motijheel in the capital in which about 50 people were injured. They also had arrested 31 people from the scene.
The police said they would file three more cases over the clashes in which members of the party’s student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, also reportedly fought.
Security personnel barred processions taken out by Jamaat in Rangpur, Gaibandha, Bogra and Barisal in the morning, in Sylhet, Sirajganj and Chittagong in the noon and in the capital in the afternoon protesting the filing of the cases and arrests.
A clash between law-enforcers and Jamaat men broke out near the Rail Gate area in the capital’s Malibagh around 4:30pm after they had barred a Jamaat rally.
Pitched battles took place until 5pm, disrupting traffic on the Mouchak-Rampura Road.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Deputy Commissioner Nurul Islam said police arrested 20 people from the scene. Jamaat’s Publicity Secretary for Dhaka Metropolitan unit Safiqul Islam alleged police swooped on them without provocation, a claim the police dismissed.
Rangpur Jamaat office torched
Jamaat supporters took out a procession from Shapla intersection around 10.30am protesting Monday’s clashes between their activists and the police in the capital and several other places.
An argument between transport workers and the Jamaat men followed. The police rushed there and tried to calm things down, but the protestors started pelting stones at the law enforcers.
Police later charged baton as a clash broke out between the transport workers and the Jamaat activists.
Soon the people joined the police to help disperse the Islamist party activists and then set the party’s office in the area on fire. The clash lasted for about two hours when the police fired teargas shells to disperse the protestors.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (Circle A) ABM Zakir Hossain said they had no alternatives but to lob teargas shells and charge baton in self-defence.
He said he did not know about torching of the Jamaat office. Hossain said some police officers including Kotwali Police Station’s Officer-in Charge Altaf Hossain received injuries during the clashes.
Jamaat’s chief of the metropolitan unit Mahbubur Rahman claimed the locals launched the attack instigated by the police.
According to him, 10 of his party’s activists were arrested from the scene of unrest.
Vehicle vandalised in Sylhet
At least 30 people were injured when the activists of Jamaat and the law enforcers clashed near the city’s Zindabazar around 2.30pm.
The clash erupted when the police stopped the protestors taking out a procession from Bondor Bazar. The protestors also vandalised a police pickup van, a motorcycle and several cars.
Eye-witnesses said the Jamaat activists used locally made weapons in the clash. Kotwali Police Station OC said police had to fire tear gas shell to quell the violence.
Brick pieces in school bag
Kotwali Model Police Station OC Shahidujjaman said the leaders and activists hurled brickbats from a Jamaat rally towards police in Barisal’s Fruit Market.
“Each of those who were in the procession was holding a school bag full of pieces of bricks and flammable objects,” he told bdnews24.com.
He also said police arrested two activists of Islami Chhattra Shibir from the spot.
Sub-Inspector of the station Asadujjaman said police filed a case accusing some 50 to 100 Jamaat and Shibir activists over the incident.
Vandalism in Chittagong
Police picked up 13 people from a procession organised by the Jamaat-e Islami near Kazir Deori in the port city.
Kotwali Police Station Officer in Charge told bdnews24.com the activists of Jamaat threw brickbats at police when they tried to stop them heading towards Jamal Khan area around 1pm.
“They also vandalised several vehicles including a truck,” the OC added.
20 injured in Gaibandha
Adherents of Jamaat-e-Islami threw brickbats at police as they tried to stop their procession after it reached the city’s Rail Gate around 11am from Polash Parha.
Gaibandha Sadar Police Station OC Gopal Chandra said the pitched battles left at least 20 injured including Sub-Inspector ‘Raihan’, ad Constables Bhobesh Chandra and Alam Mia.
Shibir claimed police arrested 17 of their activists from the scene, however police put the number at nine.
The police official said the Jamaat had taken out the rally with the aim to create anarchy.