TWO people were killed and 30 including 18 policemen injured in a gunfight between Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir activists and law enforcers in Pabna during Jamaat-backed eight-hour hartal (shutdown) in the district on Saturday.
Jamaat enforced the hartal to protest vandalism at its office in Pabna town hours after Jamaat men vandalised the Gonojagoron Mancha and ransacked the district AL office.
Deceased Sirajul Islam, 17, and Alal, 18, were Jamaat activists, Abu Talen Mondol, secretary general of district Jamaat unit, claimed.
Sirajul hailed from Monohorpur and Alal from Dharmagram village in the upazila, reports our Pabna correspondent.
In the wake of situation, two platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh were deployed in the district at 4:00pm to maintain law and order situation, said Miraz Uddin, Pabna superintendent of police (SP)
The two-hour long clash took place a day after four persons were killed and nearly 1,000, including 14 journalists, wounded as Jamaat and its sympathisers attacked law enforcers and journalists across the country to counter the Shahbagh demonstration demanding capital punishment to 1971 war criminals.
The mass movement began on February 5, hours after Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in prison for rape, killing and genocide in 1971.
Talking to The Daily Star, SP Miraz Uddin said the clash ensued when Jamaat-Shibir men put barricades at different points on Dhaka-Pabna highway stretching 12 kilometres from Jalalpur to Pushpapara to observe their hartal since 6:00am.
As police tried to free the highway about 8:30am, the marauding Jamaat-Shibir men attacked the law enforcers with bamboo sticks at Dhopaghata, the SP said.
At one stage, the Jamaat-Shibir activists opened fire on police, leaving a police constable, Mahtab, injured, he added.
The law enforcers also fired back with gunshots, triggering a gunfight at Dhopaghata, said Uddin.
Police also fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.
The fight later spread to Bangabaria area and continued till 10:30am.
Jashim Uddin, officer-in-charge of Pabna Sadar Police Station, said Sirajul, who was hit by a bullet, died on the spot.
Three bullet-injured people, including Alal and Mahtab, were rushed to Pabna General Hospital where Alal succumbed to his injuries, the OC said.
Bullet-injured Likhon, 20, was shifted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital as his condition was stated to be critical.
Seventeen injured police personnel were also admitted to the general hospital.
Meanwhile, police arrested 15 Jamaat-Shibir men from different parts of the district.