By Mizan Rahman /Dhaka
More than 100 people, including two policemen, were injured in clashes between activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir and police at Ranibazar Bata Crossing in northwestern Rajshahi city of Bangladesh yesterday.
The wrists of a police sub-inspector were blown off when Islami Chhatra Shibir activists hurled bombs at police. He was flown to Dhaka for emergency treatment.
Law enforcers were taken by surprise as around 100 Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession to press home their demands of an end to the war crimes trial and release of party activists arrested in connection with a clash on Friday.
A police constable was also injured in the clash at Ranibazar area, Ziaur Rahman, officer in-charge of Boalia police station, said.
The clashes ensued when the Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession and saw the police. Intimidated by the police presence, the activists went berserk and started hurling brick chips and bombs at police.
They hurled 15 to 20 homemade bombs at the law enforcers, leading the clashes.
The law enforcers fired over 100 rubber bullets to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir men.
The injured Sub-Inspector Mokbul Hossain was taken to the capital Dhaka as his hands were bleeding profusely.
A helicopter of Rapid Action Battalion took the injured policeman to Rajarbagh police lines hospital, said SM Moniruzzaman, chief of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police.
The SI was later sent to the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation from the Rajarbagh, he added.
Bangladesh’s human rights body has criticised the government for inadequate steps to protect Hindus from recent attacks as the minority community demanded more security.
“The government must answer why the people of religious minorities were living in insecurity in Bangladesh,” Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said at a seminar yesterday.
His remarks came against the backdrop of countrywide violence following the pronouncement of verdicts against top Islamist leaders for “crimes against humanity” during the 1971 war. In the violence, Jamaat activists torched or vandalised several Hindu temples and damaged hundreds of their homes.
“A group of people is trying to use religion in a negative way to create confusion among the common people but the government and the state have to take the responsibility of protecting the religions of all people,” Rahman said.
A senior leader of Hindu community said that “intensified social and political resistance” for their protection as he feared the minority community might face more violence in the coming months.
“The special tribunals are expected to deliver verdicts against Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leaders for 1971 crimes against humanity in next several months when fresh violence could spark exposing us to more insecurity,” Kajal Debnath, vice president of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, said.
He said according to their counting, 81 Hindu temples were torched or vandalised and several hundred Hindu households were damaged in the past two months as the followers of the faith appeared one of the targets of the Islamist bigots who were carrying out a violent campaign to thwart the 1971 war crimes trial.
“Whatever has happened has happened, we now demand steps for our protection in future … Police or the other law enforcement agencies would be of little use unless intensified social and political campaign against the bigots,” he said.