The Jamaat-Shibir activists resorted to hit-and-run clashes with law enforcers after being barred from holding unscheduled rallies in the capital and Chittagong on Wednesday.
At least 20 people including the additional deputy commissioner of Motijheel Division of DMP sustained injuries during the clash that continued for nearly five hours from 6:30am.
The marauding activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir set fire to a bus and vandalised several others in Fakirerpool water tank area of the capital, police said.
In Chittagong city the party men also vandalised at least eight buses and minibuses.
Police fired over 800 of rubber bullets and blank shots to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir men during the incident.
The law enforcers rounded up around 328 from Motijheel, Paltan, Dainik Bangla intersection, Shahjahanpur and Agargaon areas of the capital and different parts of the Chittagong city.
Moulana Abdus Sabur Matabbar, convener of Olama Ekram Pir Mashayekh Janata Mancha, is among the arrestees.
Police were seen restricting the vehicular movement on the road leading to Dainik Bangla intersection from Paltan for nearly four hours from 10:00am, our correspondents reported.
Huge contingents of law enforcers were deployed at all the key points and streets of the city following the brisk attack of the Jamaat-Shibir men.
The clash and the incidents of chases and counter-chases were also reported from Agargaon, Paltan, Dainik Bangla intersection, near Baitul Mukarram and Rajuk Bhaban areas, reports our correspondent.
The clash erupted around 6:30am when several thousands leaders and activities of Jamaat-Shibir and Olama Mashayekh Parishad under the banner of ‘Olama Ekram Pir Mashayekh Janata Mancha’ tried to hold an unscheduled rally at Paltan Maidan to counter the Shahbagh rally, said Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP Motijheel division) quoting the detainees.
Being dispersed by the law enforcers, the angry demonstrators pelted brick chips on police, forcing the law enforcers to retaliate with rubber bullets and teargas canisters.
Mehedi Hasan, additional deputy commissioner of Motijheel Zone, sustained injuries during the clash.
Three more police personnel also injured in the clashes. They were undergoing treatment at Razarbagh Police Lines Hospital.
Mehedi claimed that he sustained wounds when demonstrators hurled handmade bombs during the clash.
After being barred from holding rally at Paltan ground, the Jamaat-Shibir men divided into several ground and resorted to hit-and-flee clashes with police.
Witnesses said the Jamaat-Shibir men hurled brick chips at the law enforcers taking shelter in different allies of the city thoroughfares.
In retaliation, the law enforces fired rubber bullets and blank shots indiscriminately. Several points of Motijheel and Paltan areas vibrated with the sound of gunshots, witnesses said.
Police also arrested the convener of Olama Ekram Pir Mashayekh Janata Mancha from the spot.
During the clashes, police detained 39 from Shahjahanpur, 139 from Paltan, 140 from Motijheel and the areas adjoining points, the deputy commissioner said.
In Paltan, the clash started around 7:00am when nearly 25 Jamaat-Shibir men came in a brisk procession chanting slogans against the international crimes tribunals that deal with the war crimes cases.
As police chased them, the Jamaat-Shibir men retreated the scene quickly.
Police fired several blank shots during the incident.
Police later detained several people raiding the street side alleys of the area.
Duty officer of Paltan Police Station said police have picked up more than one hundred Jamaat-Shibir men when they came with a sudden procession in Fakirerpool area.
The Jamaat-Shibir men also torched a bus in the area around 10:00am.
The Jamaat-Shibir men came with another brisk procession near UNDP office in Agargaon area around 12noon, said Akhtar Hossain, a sub-inspector of Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station, who was with a patrol team in the area.
Facing police resistance, the party men fled the scene quickly, he added.
Meanwhile, law enforcers from Kotowali, Jatrabari and Ramna Police Stations detained 71 Jamaat-Shibir activists from different parts of the city.
The Jamaat-Shibir men vandalised at least eight buses and minibuses when police barred them from holding rally in Chittagong city.
Police picked up nine activists during the clashes.
The Jamaat-Shibir activists were trying to hold the rally as part of the party central programme demanding release of their leaders and cancellation of the international crimes tribunals, Yasir Arafat, press secretary of city (North) unit Islami Chhatra Shibir, told The Daily Star.
Syed Abdur Rouf, officer-in-charge of Pahartoli Police Station, said Shibir activists suddenly came and vandalised the vehicles in Colonel Haat area around noon.
Police picked up seven Shibir men from the spot, the OC said.
The law enforcers also detained two Shibir activists when they tried to stage demonstration in Notun Bridge area by setting fire to tyres, said Nurul Afsar Bhuiya, officer-in-charge of Bakulia Police Station.
The Shibir activists also attempted to block roads at Bohoddarhat, Chamrar Gudam and Notun Bridge areas. Later, they retreated as police chased them.
Later, the law enforcers released one of the detained activists.
The Jamaat-Shibir men also blocked Dhaka-Chittagong highway for 15 minutes by setting tyres ablaze at Barabkunda in Sitakunda in the morning, said Syed Iqbal Ali, assistant superintendent of police (Sitakunda Circle).
Source: The Daily Star