Vol. 5 Num 661 Fri. April 07, 2006  
Front Page

Kansat stained with blood again
3 killed as power-hungry people clash with BNP cadres; 100 injured

Three people were killed and some 100 others injured in a two-and-a-half-hour clash between BNP members and villagers demanding smooth power supply yesterday evening at Kansat, Shibganj upazila in Chapainawabganj.

The clash ensued as both the local chapter of ruling BNP and the Palli Bidyut Unnayan Sangram Parishad (PBUSP), a Kansat villagers' forum agitating in demand of power, announced programmes at the same time in Shibganj yesterday afternoon.

With yesterday's killings the death toll in the Kansat movement rose to 13 since January, when the PBUSP had launched an intense agitation protesting the arrest of its Convenor Golam Rabbani.

The dead in yesterday's skirmishes are Rabbani's brother-in-law Akramjaad Khan, 32, local UP chairman Ashraf's brother Mahbubul Alam, 35, and Abdul Jilani, 14, son of Kalimullah of Bahanbari, Kansat,

Among the dead, Akramjaad and Mahbubul belonged to the BNP and the teenage boy to the PBUSP.

The PBUSP last week had announced to hold a stick-procession at Shibganj yesterday afternoon to press its several demands including uninterrupted electricity supply home and then to hand over a memorandum to the upazila nirbahi officer.

On the other hand, Shibganj BNP called a meeting at the upazila headquarters, also in yesterday afternoon, to protest a hartal enforced by PBUSP at the upazila and obstruction of BNP people from going to Rajshahi to attend a meeting of the prime minister on March 29.

Witnesses said BNP activists, expressly to foil the PBUSP procession, took position at some key points and on rooftops of roadside buildings with brickbats and bombs even as far as 10km off the BNP meeting venue.

The PBUSP activists also armed themselves with brickbats and bows and arrows to resist the anticipated BNP attack. Children and women headed the long procession of some 30,000 people, some of them riding on trucks and in other vehicles including bullock carts.

When the procession reached the Paily crossroads, the BNP men waiting on rooftops hurled bombs one after another at it. The PBUSP activists retaliated by throwing bricks and arrows, said witnesses including some photojournalists.

The blasts of some 50 bombs scattered the procession, with people running for life to take cover, while police watched the fierce battle impassively, they added. Some PBUSP activists, however, chased and caught two bombers. Witnesses said the two held with bombs were lynched on the spot.

Police let the skirmishes continue up to 8:00pm and only then moved in to take control of the situation.

Additional police have been deployed in the area, where a tense situation was prevailing as on filing of this report at 10 last night.

The injured, mostly hit by splinters and arrows, were admitted to Chapainawabganj Sdara Hospital and Shibganj Upazila Health Complex.

When contacted, Rajshahi Range Deputy Inspector General of Police Baharul Alam could not confirm the deaths to The Daily Star.

Meanwhile, the Parishad yesterday called an indefinite strike in Kansat.

On January 4, two people were killed and 50 others injured when police opened fire on the subscribers of Parishad. On January 23, eight more were killed and 100 injured when the law enforcers fired to disperse the Parishad activists demanding release of Rabbani and two others in Kansat Bazar.

The locals, Parishad men, and some government officials blamed the yesterday's attack on ruling alliance lawmaker Shahjahan Miah, who was held responsible also for the previous attacks.

As of late last night, Parishad activists were blockading roads, disrupting communications in the upazila. Police deployed at Palli Bidyut office could not recover the bodies till filing this report at 12:00am today.

Chaos prevails at Kansat, Chapainawabganj as BNP cadres swoop on locals demanding uninterrupted electricity yesterday. Three people were killed and 100 injured in the clash Photo: Focus Bangla