Vol. 5 Num 663 Sun. April 09, 2006  
Front Page

Kansat agitators attack cops, damage vehicles

The power-starved people of Kansat yesterday attacked law enforcers, injuring 10 including an additional superintendent of police, as they continued their demonstrations and observed hartal for the second day.

The angry mob also damaged three police vehicles and eight trucks at Mobarakpur near Kansat when the police were escorting the goods-laden trucks from Sonamasjid land port in the early hours.

The injured include Additional SP of Chapainawabganj Mahbubul Alam, Havildar Ashraful, Constable Babu, police vehicle driver Anarul and several truck drivers, said the police confirming the incident.

Ashraful was admitted to a local hospital while others were given first aid, Additional SP Mahbub said. The damaged vehicles were kept at Kansat Palli Bidyut Samity office, he added.

The mob started pelting stones at the policemen when they were escorting three trucks after clearing barricades from the Sonamasjid road at about 4:00am. They also beat up the cops and truck drivers.

After an hour, the police were withdrawn from the scene where four people were killed and over 100 injured on Thursday in a clash between the BNP activists and locals demanding uninterrupted electricity supply.

As the people agitating for electricity put barricades on Kansat-Sonamasjid road after the clash, some 150 trucks loaded with imported Indian onion were kept stranded at the land port. Importers and local traders said about 5,000 tonnes of onion in the trucks and godowns have been left to perish.

"The situation has turned worse as we cannot even properly store the onions for frequent load-shedding," said Nazrul Islam, an importer.

A large number of fresh logs and abandoned electric poles were laid yesterday on a 15 kilometers stretch of the road from Pukuria to Sonamasjid, disrupting communication with the land port.

The police yesterday morning tried to escort a number of stranded trucks through Bholahat and Naogaon but failed as the locals dug up the road near a culvert at Abbasbazar.

The villagers demonstrated during the hartal hours and said they are ready to resist any conspiracy to foil the hartal in five unions of Kansat, Mobarakpur, Shahbajpur, Chawk Kirti and Dhai Pukuria.

A huge procession of local people paraded Kansat and adjacent areas in the afternoon. The protesters warned the government of dire consequences if their leader Golam Rabbani was harassed or hurt.

Rajshahi City Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu MP at a press conference at Chapainawabganj yesterday said a terrorists' group in the name of Palli Bidyut Unnayan Sangram Parishad (PBUSP) is responsible for Thursday's skirmishes.

He said the government is taking action against the "terrorists."

"The [PBUSP] leaders are now collecting toll from villagers for running the movement. They forced many of our party leaders and workers to leave villages," alleged Minu, a lawmaker of the ruling BNP.

Minu said the PBUSP leaders on March 5 promised not to continue the movement for power as most of their 14 demands were fulfilled by that time.

"Despite the fact, they organised the procession to kill our party leaders. They were equipped with swords, bows and arrows," the mayor said adding that common people were not with the PBUSP leaders.

Local lawmakers Shahjahan Miah, Harun-ur Rashid and Jamaat leaders Rafiqul Islam were present at the press conference.

Lawmaker Shahjahan Miah told the press conference that PBUSP Convener Golam Rabbani was misguiding the local people.

Meanwhile, Chapainawabganj SP Mahfujul Islam told The Daily Star that police had recorded two murder cases against Rabbani and others.

The cases were filed by relatives of BNP leader Mahbubul Alam and tea seller Masir who were killed during the violence on Thursday, he said.

But Officer-in-Charge of Shibganj Police Station Golam Kibria yesterday evening said no cases were recorded.

PBUSP Convener Golam Rabbani yesterday demanded security from the government and sought the prime minister's intervention. He alleged that local BNP leaders were threatening to kill him.

When asked about the case, Rabbani said: "We don't care about the cases. We care only for the people's demands for power. They filed cases before, even arrested and tortured us, but were forced to free us."

Asked about BNP's claim of fulfilment of their demands, Rabbani said those were just promises on papers, never translated into reality.

"It is lawmaker Shahjahan Miah who is creating all problems. We don't want him to get involved in resolving our problems," he said.