Jamaat-Shibir activists yesterday resorted to hit-and-run attacks on police and rampaged through different parts of Dhaka, Chittagong and Rangpur after they were barred from holding unscheduled rallies to demand the release of their leaders facing war crimes trial.
At least 20 people, including an additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Motijheel division), were injured in the clashes that continued for nearly five hours from 6:30am in the capital.
Unruly activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir set fire to a bus and vandalised several more at Fakirapool in the capital. In Chittagong, they vandalised eight buses and minibuses.
Police fired more than 800 rubber bullets and blank shots to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir men.
Law enforcers detained 415 people in Dhaka, Chittagong and Rangpur in connection with the vandalism and attacks on police.
Jamaat-Shibir activists attacked police in Agargaon, Paltan, Dainik Bangla intersection, Baitul Mukarram, Rajuk Bhaban and Ramna areas in the capital.
A clash between police and activists of Jamaat and Olama Mashayekh Parishad broke out at Motijheel at about 6:30am when they under the banner of Olama Ekram Pir Mashayekh Janata Mancha tried to hold an unscheduled rally at Paltan Maidan to counter the Shahbagh demonstration, said DMP Deputy Commissioner Anwar Hossain, referring to the statements of the detainees.
Moulana Abdus Sabur Matabbar, convener of Olama Ekram Pir Mashayekh Janata Mancha, was arrested following the incident.
The angry demonstrators pelted police with brick chips, forcing the law enforcers to retaliate by firing rubber bullets and teargas canisters.
In another incident, when police prevented Jamaat-Shibir men from holding a rally at Paltan, the protesters in several groups launched hit-and-run attacks on police. They took shelter in nearby alleyways and attacked the law enforcers.
In retaliation, the law enforces fired rubber bullets and blank shots.
In Paltan, about 25 Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession, but fled the scene quickly after police fired several blank shots.
Jamaat-Shibir men also brought out a procession at Fakirapool, and vandalised a car and set it ablaze.
They also carried out similar attacks at Jatrabari. They swooped on law enforcers and vandalised several vehicles there. Police arrested seven Jamaat-Shibir activists from the spot.
Jamaat men also brought out a procession in Agargaon.
Kotwali police said they detained 34 suspected Jamaat-Shibir men from Sadarghat launch terminal in the morning on information that Jamaat was bringing men from southern districts to create anarchy in the capital.
Police also detained 30 Jamaat-Shibir men after they clashed with law enforcers in the Ramna area.
In a statement in the evening, Jamaat sharply criticised “the police action” on its activists, saying “the government is out to eliminate the Islamic force from the country.”
State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku said law enforcers are trying to recover the firearms used by Jamaat-Shibir cadres on Tuesday and yesterday in and outside the capital.
He was talking to reporters at his secretariat office in the capital.
In the meantime, a Dhaka court placed 68 Jamaat-Shibir men on remand for different terms. It also sent five Jamaat activists to jail in eight cases filed over Tuesday's violence in the capital.
CLASHES IN CHITTAGONG
Shibir activists vandalised at least eight minibuses and two covered vans in the port city.
Police picked up nine persons following the incident.
Syed Abdur Rouf, officer-in-charge of Pahartali Police Station, said Shibir men suddenly took to the streets and vandalised minibuses in the Colonel Haat area.
Police and locals chased off the Shibir men. Law enforcers picked up six persons from the spot.
CLASHES IN RANGPUR
A clash between Jamaat-Shibir activists and police erupted after the protesters put a barricade on Rangpur-Dhaka highway at Boiragiganj demanding cancellation of war crimes trial and release of their leaders.
Police arrested 13 Shibir activists from Mithapukur upazila after the clash.