At least 11 people were killed in Noakhali and Nilphamari yesterday, as Jamaat-Shibir men clashed with law enforcers and ran riot in several parts of the country to protest the execution of their leader Abul Quader Mollah.
Meanwhile, a Jamaat leader died early yesterday when law enforcers raided his house in Laxmipur town.
A total of 21 people have died in political violence since convicted war criminal Mollah was hanged on Thursday night.
The Jamaat-e-Islami enforces a 12-hour shutdown from 6:00am today across the country to protest the hanging of its assistant secretary general.
Unlike previous blockades and hartals, today’s shutdown has been called by Jamaat alone without the backing of any other party in the BNP-led opposition alliance.
The Islamist party has unleashed a wave of violence over the last two days, disrupting normal life in many parts of the country.
In Nilphamari, the motorcade of Awami League lawmaker Asaduzzaman Noor came under attack from Jamaat-Shibir men yesterday afternoon. Noor, however, escaped unhurt.
An arson attack was made, allegedly by Jamaat men, on the Pabna regional passport office early in the morning. State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku owns the building that houses the passport office.
Besides, Jamaat-Shibir men attacked two police outposts in Narayanganj.
5 KILLED IN NILPHAMARI
Jamaat-Shibir men attacked Noor’s motorcade while he was returning to Nilphamari town after visiting Laxmichap, Shishatoli and Palash Bari villages where Jamaat men on Thursday night set ablaze 70-80 shops and storehouses belonging to Hindus and AL activists.
The attack on the motorcade triggered a three-way clash between Jamaat men, AL activists and law enforcers near Ramganj Bazar in Sadar upazila, leaving five people dead and at least 50 others injured.
According to police and witnesses, when Noor and his entourage were coming back to the town via Ramganj-Mirganj road around 4:00pm, they found that a part of the road had been dug up by Jamaat men.
As the AL activists accompanying Noor tried to repair the road, several hundred Jamaat-Shibir men pelted them with stones and brickbats from roadside bamboo groves and houses, prompting the AL men to retaliate.
Locals alleged that the Jamaat men had forcibly entered many roadside houses and lay in wait to attack Noor’s motorcade.
At one stage, the law enforcers escorting Noor and his entourage fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the attackers, said witnesses.
Jamaat men torched at least 25 to 30 motorbikes belonging to local AL leaders and activists.
As the situation deteriorated further, additional police and BGB personnel from the district headquarters went to the spot to ensure safe passage for Noor after more than an hour.
In a bid to prevent the AL lawmaker from reaching Nilphamari town, Jamaat men blocked the road by felling roadside trees. But he finally reached the town safely, as police, locals and AL men removed the barricades.
Noor, also cultural secretary of the Awami League, told The Daily Star last night, “The pattern of the attack indicates that it was well-planned. The attackers were also well-trained.”
They went on the offensive like the Pakistan occupation army did in 1971, he said.
The five people killed in the clash are Khorshed Chowdhury, 50, president of Tupamari union Krishok League, Jubo League men Farhad Hossain, 35, and Lebu, 30, Murad Hossain, 35, an AL activist, and Abu Bakar Siddique, 45, reports our Nilphamari Correspondent.
At least 50 people, mostly AL activists, were wounded in the clash. The condition of six of the injured was stated to be critical.
Ten policemen, including ASP (circle) Shafiul, also suffered injuries.
6 KILLED IN NOAKHALI
Activists of the Islamist party clashed with law enforcers in Companiganj upazila, leaving six Shibir men dead and 15 people injured.
The clash erupted around 4:00pm when police intercepted a procession brought out by Jamaat-Shibir men from the KM Model High School, reports our Noakhali correspondent, said police and witnesses.
Unruly Jamaat activists set alight the offices of land, family planning and public health engineering, and some shops there. They hurled crude bombs and brickbats at police, prompting the law enforcers to open fire.
Six Shibir men died on the spot. They are Motiur, 22, Raihan, 21, and Abdus Sattar, 24, Saiful Islam, 21, Sajib, 22, and Russel, 20, said local sources.
Police, however, confirmed the death of three.
Sajidul Islam, officer-in-charge of Companiganj Police Station, said they brought the bodies of three Shibir activists to the police station.
At least five policemen, including Shafiqul Islam, OC (investigation) of the police station, were injured in the clash, said Anisur Rahman, superintendent of police in the district.
On information, fire fighters went to the spot and brought the flames under control. Additional policemen were deployed in the area to ward off further violence.
In Laxmipur, Fayez Ahmed, 66, nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat’s district unit, was found dead after a team of police and Rab personnel raided his house at Dakkhin Temuhoni early yesterday.
Marzia Begum, wife of the Jamaat leader, said a group of men, identifying themselves as Rab personnel, forced into their house in Laxmipur Sadar around 12:30am.
They took Ahmed to the rooftop, shot him in the head, and then tossed the body from there, she claimed.
However, a top official of Rab-11 that conducted the raid refuted the allegation and said there had been no shooting during the raid. The Jamaat leader fell from the roof as he tried to escape arrest.
The Rab official said law enforcers raided the house on information that Ahmed and his son were planning to carry out subversive activities.
The Jamaat leader died as he fell from the roof of his house. None tossed him from there. His son managed to escape, said the Rab official.
Mohammad Lokman Hossain, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station, declined to comment on the matter.
As the news of Ahmed’s death spread, Jamaat-Shibir men brought out processions in the upazila.
In Pabna, a three-storey building housing the regional passport office in Sadar municipality caught fire as at least five bombs were hurled at it, allegedly by Jamaat men, around 4:00am.
The blaze damaged the windowpanes and doors on the first and second floors of the building that Tuku had rented out, said police.
Some documents kept at the office were gutted in flames. There was no report of any casualty in the incident.
Blaming Jamaat-Shibir activists for the attack, Rezaul Rahim Lal, vice president of AL Pabna district unit, said it was a planned attack to create panic among locals. He demanded immediate action against the attackers.
In Narayanganj, two police outposts at Chasara and Hajiganj caught fire as activists of the Islamist party hurled petrol bombs at those. The windowpanes and doors at the stations were damaged but none was hurt, police said.
An office of ward AL unit was set alight by miscreants at Shakharikathi Bazar of Kachua upazila in Bagerhat. Local AL leaders blamed Jamaat activists for the arson attack.
In Satkhira, Jamaat-Shibir men attacked and looted the houses and businesses of nine AL leaders and activists early yesterday.