Saturday, March 30, 2013

Five die by police fire on the 29th of March

The 29th of March was not a special day by any means in Bangladesh. There was no call by opposition BNP-Jamaat for any special program for any agitation. Nor was there any call for hartal or procession. It was Friday. Yet, 5 people died. All of them were killed after being fatally shot by police.

Three people were killed in Chapai Nawabgonj. Upto 50 people were injured as police opened fire on villagers in Shyampur area under Shibganj upazila early Friday. The incident occurred as villagers obstructed police when the law enforcers started raiding different houses of area to arrest 'accused' activists in connection with violence after the verdict of Allama Sayedee. Jamaat has called for dawn to dusk hartal in Chapai Nawabgonj on Sunday. More details can be found here.

In Sirajganj, two people were killed and 45 others, including two journalists and three cops, injured in a triangular clash involving villagers along with BNP-Jamaat activists, Awami League activists and police at Kalyanpur Bazar village in Belkuchi upazila on Friday morning. Of the injured, nine sustained bullet wounds.

The deceased were identified as Jamaat activist Faridul, 19, son of Abdul Majid of Sarbatulsi village, and Shibir activist Yunus, 18, son of Abdul Hamid of Kalyanpur village in the upazila. Faridul and Yunus succumbed to their injuries on the way to Ullapara Upazila Health Complex. The other injured were admitted to different hospital and clinics

Witnesses said the activists of BNP, Jamaat-Shibir along with the villagers tried to release Jamaat leader Habibur Rahman, an accused in an alleged vandalism and arson case, from the custody of police at Kalyanpur Bazar when the law enforcers were taking him to the police station after arresting him from Mabupur village around 10:30am, triggering a clash.

Soon the ruling party men joined the clash. A chase and counter chase took place during the melee. At one stage, police fired 143 rounds of teargas shells, 25 rounds of bullets and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control, leaving 47 people injured, including nine with bullets. The injured in the brutality of police action also include BTV and My TV district correspondents.

Hartal has been called in Sirajgonj for half day on Sunday.

Analysis of the situation should not be difficult on following the reaction of the media outlets associated with complicit pro-government coverage. The reaction of outlets such as Shomoy TV and Ekattor TV was that of disbelief and outrage. Few of them could relate to the fact that hundreds of people had turned out to support the side of the opposition. Their official stance was that of blaming jamaat for everything ranging from starting all this mess way back in 1971 until now. Sad was the fact that although they were vociferous in voicing concerns on the Jamaat involvement in the violence, there was not an ounce of regret or outrage over the extra judicial killings carried out in the name of the law. It leaves one to wonder whether deaths of human beings are after all, fodder for prime time news.

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