3 killed as cops open fire in Chapainawabganj

BNP-led 18-party calls hartal in district for Sunday

(L clockwise) Villagers of Gopalnagar in Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj rush with bamboo sticks in their hands during a clash with law enforcers, Boarder Guard Bangladesh personnel patrol the area, relatives of a victim wail and a man shows bullet and teargas canister shells on Friday. Photo: TV grab

BNP-led 18-party alliance has called a daylong shutdown (hartal) for Sunday in Chapainawabganj protesting the deaths of three people in ‘police firing’ early Friday.

Three people were killed and 20 others injured in Shibganj upazila as police opened fire being attacked by villagers during a raid at Gopalnagar village to arrest an accused of torching the Palli Bidyut unit at Kansat on February 28.

On that day, activist of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, went on the rampage soon after an International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee to death.

As police reached the village around 3:00am Friday, activists of Jamaat and Shibir who had already been prepared exploded few crackers to alert others.

Locals said people from nearby villages encircled the law enforcers and hurled brick chips towards the law enforcers, reports our Chapainawabganj correspondent.

In retaliation, police opened fire and lobbed several rounds of rubber bullet that killed two people and injured 21 others.

On information additional forces of police, Rapid Action Battalion and Border Guard Bangladesh personnel rushed to the spot and rescued the previous team.

Locals said Waliullah, 18, of Omarpur village, and Rabiul Islam, 25, of Babupur village, died on the spot. Another victim, Matiur Rahman, 45, of Gopalnagar village succumbed to his injuries on way to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.

Villagers said Waliullah and Matiur were supporters of Jamaat while Rabiul was a BNP supporter.

Hours after the deaths, Jamaat men vandalised several roadside shops at Chapainawabganj town.

Chases and counter-chases between law enforcers and the Jamaat-Shibir men also took place at Shibtala in the district town.

Meanwhile, bus owners association of the district kept their vehicles off the roads fearing vandalism and no inter-district buses left or entered the town for several hours since 10:45am.

Shahjahan Mia, president of district BNP unit, announced the hartal around 11:00am on Friday at the party’s Pathanpara office.

The opposition would also stage demonstration in the district on Saturday, the BNP leader said.

Source: The Daily Star