Vol. 5 Num 232 Sun. January 16, 2005  
Front Page

2 killed, 60 hurt in bomb attacks on Jatra shows

Bomb attacks on jatra (a folk theatre form) shows at two remote villages in Bogra and Natore districts on Friday midnight and early Saturday left two men dead and at least 60 people injured.

In Bogra, a rickshaw-van driver was killed and 40 others wounded as unidentified miscreants hurled two powerful bombs at a jatra audience at Laxmikola village under Shahjahanpur upazila in dead of the night Friday.

A similar incident at Boroigram village in Natore in the early hours Saturday killed a middle-aged man and left 20 others injured.

Our Bogra correspondent reports: Shafiqul Islam, 36, was killed on the spot and 40 people including some women received various degrees of injury as two powerful bombs exploded near-simultaneously at the show of a jatra titled Chabuker Jabab in Laxmikola Shah Roushan Jalal High School ground.

Islam left behind his wife, a 14-year-old son and a 23-day-old daughter.

At least five thousand people from Laxmikola and the neighbouring villages gathered in the field, about 20km from the district town, to enjoy the show, an annual winter event.

Witnesses said the first bomb went off in front of the women audience as soon as a woman came on the stage to dance a typically indecent number. The second bomb followed after about 15 seconds.

Locals rushed the splinter-hurt people to Bogra Mohammad Ali Hospital, some in critical condition.

Talking to The daily Star yesterday noon, a number of villagers said a local influential quarter had forbidden the organisers, a group of youth, from holding the theatrical shows, which it considered as immoral and irreligious. The locals guess that quarter might have masterminded the attack.

A few of the villagers also suspect a link between the incident and Bangla Bhai, whose home is in neighbouring Karnipara village which he reportedly visited last month.

Madla Union Parishad Chairman Abdul Latif said there was no feud over holding the theatre, but the attack was a sequel to other blasts in the country.

Police officials visited the spot but could not immediately ascertain the motive for the attack.

UNB adds: Locals and police said the bomb attack was a sequel to clash of two rival groups over horse race, a component of the event, in which six people were injured earlier on the day.

The police super of the district who visited the spot refused to name the attackers before investigation is completed.

UNB reports: Fuad, 42, of Ankutia village under neighbouring Chatmohar upazila, died in the bomb attack on the Boroigram jatra show at about 1:00am Saturday.

Most of the 20 injured were victims of a stampede of the terrified audience. Of them, the condition of local union parishad member Badsha and a peasant named Nasir were reported to be critical.

Witnesses said one of the two bombs hurled was exploded in front of the stage when a woman artiste was performing an indecent dance.