Vol. 4 Num 274 Sat. March 06, 2004  
Front Page

50 injured in clash over land dispute in Sylhet

About 50 madrasah students were injured in a one- and a half-hour armed clash apparently over a land dispute at Kazirbazar in the city yesterday morning.

Of the injured students, seven were admitted to the MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, including five with bullet wounds that doctors consider being critical.

Locals said about 50 gunshots were fired during the combat.

Moulana Habibur Rahman, principal of Kazirbazar Madrasah, told the Daily Star they bought a 75-decimel plot of land adjacent to the madrasah from Ataur Rahman, owner of Dolphin Bread Factory.

Rahman, also a Nayeb-e-Amir of ruling alliance partner Islami Oikya Jote, claimed, after paying a Tk 20-lakh price Thursday last, the madrasah officials took possession of the plot the same night. Some madrasah students have since been staying in a structure on the plot.

The principal said at Thursday midnight a police team from Kotwali Police Station came and asked the madrasah people to vacate the land immediately. But as they refused to do so, police left the area at about 1:30am yesterday.

Locals said, at around 10am yesterday, an armed group of people launched a sudden and two-pronged attack on the students staying on the newly possessed land from east and south.

They fired guns and chopped students with sharp weapons. The madrasah students on the plot as well as those in the adjacent hostel countered the attack by hurling brickbats, thereby locking into the 90-minute fight.

On information, Sylhet City Corporation Mayor Badaruddin Ahmed Kamran, district BNP President MA Haque and city Awami League General Secretary Misbahuddin Siraj rushed to the spot.

The fighting stopped after Mayor Kamran appealed over a loudspeaker to both the sides to restrain themselves.

The madrasah authorities blamed Afsaruddin, owner of neighbouring cattle market, for masterminding the attack and demanded his arrest within 24 hours. Otherwise, they threatened to launch tough agitation.

Police arrested a young man named Ahmed Rumman after the clash and recovered a gun from his possession.