At least three Jamaat-Shibir men were killed and 50 others, including a few policemen, were injured during a gun battle between Jamaat-Shibir men and police in Cox’s Bazar town Friday afternoon.
Jamaat-e-Islami would enforce a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal on Monday to protest the deaths of the three activists, says a press release quoting Rafiqul Islam, Jamaat’s acting secretary general.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-backed “Mukti Parishad”, an organisation demanding the release of war crimes accused Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee, has called for a 48-hour hartal in Cox’s Bazar from today.
Officer-in-Charge Md Jasimuddin of Cox’s Bazar Model Police Station said an indefinite ban on all gatherings (section-144) had been imposed in the town and that they had arrested 129 men in connection with the clash and gun battle.
The gunfight ensued around 2:00pm when several hundred activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and pro-Jamaat student body Islami Chhatra Shibir brought out processions in Rumaliachhara and Tarabaniachhara areas of the town after Juma prayers demanding release of Sayedee.
They tried to set fire to two battery-run auto-rickshaws on the road.
As police foiled their attempt, they started detonating homemade bombs and firing at the law enforcers forcing the police to retaliate, OC Jasimuddin said.
Police also lobbed a few teargas canisters and fired several rubber bullets to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir men and brought the situation under control around 3:30pm, he said.
Soon after the party activists fled the scene, police found the bodies lying on the road. The OC claimed that the three were killed by stray bullets fired by the Jamaat-Shibir men.
Witnesses said the Jamaat-Shibir men set fire to tyres at different places in the town spreading panic among traffic and pedestrians.
Panic gripped the town dwellers and vehicular movement was suspended for five hours from 2:00pm on the 5km stretch of road between the Central Bus Terminal and Holiday intersection, witnesses said.
GM Rahimullah, secretary of Cox’s Bazar district unit of Jamaat, claimed that four, not three, of its activists were killed and 100 others were injured in the clash and police arrested 265 Jamaat-Shibir men.
The deceased are: Ahmed Saleh, 40, a Jamaat activist of Satkania upazila, Tofael Ahmed, 22, a Shibir activist and a student of Hashemia Alia Madrasa of Cox’s Bazar, and Nurul Huq, 20, a Shibir activist of Cox’s Bazar.
GM Rahimullah claimed that Jamaat activist Abdullah of Cox’s Bazar was also killed in the clash.
The bodies of the three were sent to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital.
Additional police, Rab and Border Guard Bangladesh personnel have been deployed in the town to avert any untoward incident, police officials said.