Published: Monday, May 6, 2013

An eerie Dhaka night

An office building at Purana Paltan in the capital burns, as Hefajat-e Islam men, joined by Jamaat-e-Islami activists, go on the rampage last night. Photo: Amran Hossain

An office building at Purana Paltan in the capital burns, as Hefajat-e Islam men, joined by Jamaat-e-Islami activists, go on the rampage last night. Photo: Amran Hossain

All the way from Dainik Bangla point to Baitul Mokarram Mosque, it was an unreal scene.
The road could hardly be recognized. Heaps of debris were burning. Iron road dividers and concrete slabs were blocking the road. An acrid smell assailed the nostrils.
At 12 midnight, firefighters were still frantically trying to douse fire at the Uttara Bank branch at the House Building Finance Corporation building.
“Water,” one firefighter shouted. “Who turned off the water?”
The hose pipe lay squished.
Three fire tenders were parked side by side just outside the BSS office. They had run out of water.
The roads were now hardly recognizable. Broken bricks and concrete chips carpeted the whole street. One could hardly walk in a straight line.
At the far end, fires were burning and one could make out the ghostly frames of the Shibir-Hefajat men.
On the alley in front of Baitul Mokarram market, flashlights flickered all around. Scores of men were trying to salvage, rather in vain, whatever remained of their shops.
Melted spectacles mingled with half-burned toys.
“Two lakh taka are gone,” said Syed, who ran a toy shop on the market footpath. He had no idea what he actually was trying to salvage. There was nothing to salvage.
A little distance away, tired policemen in riot gear sat on the road. They smelt heavily of cordite. Their tired eyes were half-closed.
From inside the Stadium Market, hundreds of Rab men marched out in a bad mood. They joined the policemen.
The storks in front of the Biman office were gone. A big umbrella made of concrete lay upside down in front of Jiban Bima Bhaban. “Obey traffic rules”, it says. Only, it was upside down.
Just beyond the Jiban Bima building, the flames leaped and with them the fanatics. Their concerted chanting congealed into a distant roar. They looked like some ancient animals, fuming and frothing.
In front of the Supreme Court, Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) vehicles were lining up. The BGB men looked excited.
Police were bringing in prison vans.
Downtown Dhaka was in an uncanny mood at midnight.

  • Md. Likhon

    Nothing to say about those blind supporter..