Vol. 5 Num 87 Sun. August 22, 2004  
Front Page

Horror descends on trauma wards

Thousands of distraught relatives and party activists thronged the city hospitals to see if their near and dear ones are among the dead and injured.

The hospital air turned heavy with people's screams and cry for blood as the authorities struggled to cope with the rush of the injured and their relatives.

People took no more than 10 minutes to rush to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) after the first injured was taken there.

The relatives, Awami League (AL) activists, law-enforcers and journalists crowded the entrance to the Emergency Ward, as more injured were rushed there.

Over 150 injured were taken first to the DMCH. The authorities moved old patients of ward No. 32 to other wards and made beds on the floor but still could not manage enough space for the injured.

Most of the injured were however moved to other hospitals as the hospital could not accommodate them.

Relatives and AL activists transported the injured by rickshaws, vans, taxicabs, ambulances, police cars and media vehicles.

A long line of people stretched to the mortuary and ward No. 32 where the injured were being treated, blocking the walkway.

People chased the police out of the DMCH after they were deployed there at 6:10pm to control the rush.

Police, however, were deployed again at 6:45pm to clear the walkway to the mortuary and ward No 32 and they clubbed the crowd twice.

Divided into separate groups, activists of the AL and its front organisations were shouting at the top of their voice at the DMCH, urging people to donate blood for the injured.

"Please save our brothers and sisters, donate blood," a woman was shouting under the stairs, directing people to go to the blood centre on the first floor.

The authorities however did not have enough bags for the people who went to donate blood.

Some 50 people crowded there but the authorities had only 24 bags till 7:30pm.

Agitated blood donors shouted at two staffs who were working there. "This is no hospital, there is no doctors here, only two people are doing everything," one of them shouted.

"We are taking out blood on our own," he said.

The hospital authorities, however, managed more bags. AL activist Asma told The Daily Star at 10:00pm that they had managed 100 bags of blood.

The AL leaders and the relatives alleged the hospital authorities failed to provide saline and basic medicine.

Protesting the attack, AL's student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League took out a procession on Dhaka University campus at around 6:30pm and vandalised about eight vehicles.

Police chased them away from the campus.

Some 400 residents of DU Rokeya Hall also brought out a procession on the hall premises.


Twenty-one of the most critically injured were rushed to the hospital, but two of them -- Mostak Ahmed Sentu and Quddus Patwari -- died there.

Many others were being operated upon till 10:45 last night.


AL Presidium member Suranjit Sengupta was in the operating theatre, with surgeons called in to treat severe injuries to his head, legs and upper half of the body. Suranjit was also the target of a bomb attack last month in Sunamganj, which he narrowly escaped.

Hospital authorities said at least 50 to 60 injured were taken to the hospital, including AL Organising Secretary Akhtaruzzaman, Dhanmondi Thana Unit BCL General Secretary Kazi Morshed Kamal and 12 female leaders of the Awami Mohila League.

Doctors and hospital staff were struggling to attend to the injured and treated some in the reception lounge.


Mid-level AL, Jubo League and BCL leaders with serious injuries were being treated in the open. Half of the nearly 60 injured were released after first aid. Senior leaders with severe injuries were shifted to other hospitals after initial treatment due to space dearth and lack of doctors.


A large number of the wounded were also treated in the open. The presence of Detective Branch (DB) members prompted the AL activists and families of the wounded to shift them to other private hospitals and clinics.


Eleven people were admitted to the hospital with critical injuries, with a senior AL leader, whose name could not be known immediately, undergoing operation on the lower abdomen till 10:00pm.


BCL General Secretary Nazrul Islam Babu, fighting for life with sharpnel wounds in the stomach and upper body, was taken to the Combined Military Hospital for emergency treatment. Hospital authorities at first refused to admit him but later provided him with primary treatment. They asked his family to take him to a private clinic.

Blood-smeared Suranjit Sengupta is being taken to hospital. PHOTO: STAR