Five Hefajat supporters died from ‘bullet wounds in head’

Islamists Battle Riot Police in Dhaka
May 8, 2013
By David Bergman

Doctors at a private hospital in Dhaka have confirmed that five out of six people taken to the hospital ‘practically dead’ on the evening of the Hefajat protests in Dhaka had ‘bullet wounds in their heads.’
The total number of the people who died during the operation by the police and other law enforcement agencies to remove the Hefajat protesters from Shapla Square and the surrounding area is unknown although both international and national media reports have confirmed that at least 22 died in Dhaka on that day.
Staff of the Rajarbagh-based Baraka General Hospital, which is within two kilometers of the centre of the protests in Shapla Square, recounted to New Age that six bodies were taken to the hospital within about 10 minutes at about 10:00pm that evening.
‘Sometime between 9:30am and 10:30am, six practically dead bodies were brought to the hospital,’ said Dr M Rafiqul Islam, the managing director of the hospital who saw two of the men as they were brought to the operating table.
‘These two men had severe blood loss and respiratory distress. Both died on the table without taking any treatment from us,’ he added.
He described the injuries of one of the men who died under his care. ‘One of the two men had a firearm injury in the head. There were two bullet holes — one on the side of the head the other on the back of the neck.’
‘I introduced my fingers into both holes to stop the blood coming out. It was about a centimetre wide,’ he added.
He said that he had no idea what kind of bullet had made the wound or whether it was ‘fired at close or distant range.’
The other man who died on the operating table had a bullet through the pelvis of the body, Rafiqul said.
Dr Shaheen Zaman, an orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital, was also present when the men were brought to the hospital.
‘I received six men downstairs and two of them were brought to the operating room,’ he said.
‘The remaining four all had bullet [wounds] in the skull. Because blood was coming out from their head I dressed the persons with bandages applying heavy pressure to try to stem the blood flow,’ he added.
‘[I am] not sure whether the bullets remained inside or went out, but all had head injuries. We were not able to do X-rays or other tests as they all died within 10 minutes [of coming]. One of them was taken upstairs for an operation but died on the way,’ Shaheen said.
New Age has managed to contact relatives or friends of two of the men who died and they confirmed that the body’s they collected had a bullet wound in the head.
Ziaul Haque said that his maternal uncle 65-year-old Maulana Shiahab Uddin, a madrassah teacher and the general secretary of the Mirrsarai unit of Hefajat-e-Islam had came to Dhaka on May 4. ‘He received bullets in his head and the chest in the Dainik Bangla crossing,’ Ziaul said.
‘I received the body at 1:35am from Baraka Hospital and took the body to my village in Chittagong. We faced difficulty in conducting the namaz-e-janaza as the local police administration did not allow us to conduct it in the madrassah playground. We tried twice. Later, we conducted it in a different place and buried him in the presence of police about 3:00am,’ he added.
Another relative of one of the deceased, Foysal told New Age that his 23-year-old madrassah student friend Jobaer who he collected from Baraka hospital had ‘received a bullet in the head about 9:45pm in the Dainik Bangla crossing.’
He said that after he had collected his friend’s body from Baraka Hospital about 2:30am, he went to Narsingdi and ‘fearing police harassment, buried Jobaer hurriedly about 10:00am’
Adilur Rahman Khan, the secretary of rights group Odhikar, criticised the action of the police and demanded an independent investigation.
‘It is a direct and indiscriminate killing. It is not law enforcement. It is reported that hundreds of people were killed with live bullets, and perhaps thousands injured. It is not only six people,’ Adilur said.
‘It is a very serious issue when you have people involved in a religious movement coming to Dhaka and gathering with the government’s permission and then the lights are turned off and live bullets are fired on unarmed civilians to get them to leave the place. This is a serious violation of human rights,’ he added.
The names of two other men who died at the hospital are 27-year-old Ibrahim Khalil from Patukhali and 40-year-old Yunus Mollah from  Barisal. The names of the two others who died are unknown.
Amongst the 22 estimated to have died in Dhaka on the Sunday night, one person was a law enforcement official.

Source: New Age
Feature image by Shariful Islam/Xinhua/Zuma Press