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AL men attack police station

Bid to free arrested activists in Kabirhat

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At least 15 people, including three policemen, were injured when unruly activists of the ruling Awami League [AL] launched an attack on Kabirhat Police Station in Noakhali district in the small hours of Thursday.The activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League [BCL] and Jubo League [JL], student and youth wings of AL, reportedly attacked the police station over rumour of detention of general secretary of Kabirhat Upazila Awami League Jahirul Haque Raihan, who is also the mayor of Kabirhat Municipally.Tense situation has been prevailing in the Kabirhat area where additional police forces have been deployed to prevent any further untoward incident. Senior police officials including Noakhali's Superintendent of Police Anisur Rahman also visited the spot. Local sources said Jahirul Haque Raihan went to the police station in a "drunken" condition at around 11:45pm on Wednesday. He also misbehaved with the on-duty police personnel following the arrest of two local BCL leaders. He asked the police to release the party activists immediately.But police strongly refused to honour his request. Raihan later informed his supporters over mobile phone that the police had also detained him without any reason. The phone call ignited a rumour and spread fast over the entire locality. Over 200 people, mostly his supporters, equipped with different lethal weapons attacked the police station at around 1:30pm. The attackers hurled brick chunks targeting the law enforcers turning the entire area into a battlefield. They also vandalised main gate, window panes, doors of officials' cabins, furniture and other valuables of the police station, the sources said. Later a huge contingent of riot police from Noakhali Police Line led by Additional Superintendent of Police Ashrafuzzaman Dowla rushed to the spot. The police charged baton indiscriminately, lobbed tear gas canisters and fired bullets from shotguns to disperse the attackers and bring the situation under control. The injured activists were identified as upazila unit BCL president Sahadat Hossain, municipality unit BCL general secretary Abdul Wahed, upazila BCL unit general secretary Mohammad Swapan, BCL district unit leader Riaz Hossain Badsha, upazila unit JL leaders Zafar Uddin, Bakhtiar and Md Munir. Of them, Sahadat Hossain has been shifted to Dhaka while others were admitted to Noakhali Sadar Hospital.Besides, the injured police were identified as constables Md Yaseen, Abdul Kaiyum and Babul Miah. They were sent to the Noakhali Police Line Hospital in critical condition. "Some persons, including three constables, were injured in the attack. There were activists of JL and BCL among the attackers. Sensing danger, the police shot around 40 bullets to disperse the attackers. Four attackers were injured at that time," SM Mahbubur Rahman," Officer-in Charge of Kabirhat Police Station said.The OC said, "He [Raihan] had spread false news over his cell phone to provoke the local people. We tried our best to calm him but failed as he was drunk." On the other hand, Jahirul Haque Raihan, denied the allegation against him. "Police raided the house of local BCL president Moslehuddin Nabi and detained his brothers Saiful and Bakhtiyar when they failed to get him. I went to the police station to inquire about the arrests," he said. "The news of my detention had upset locals. At least, 10 members of JL and BCL were injured when the police opened fire," he further said blaming the police.None was arrested till the time of filing of this report yesterday night. Meanwhile, the police filed a case accusing over 400/500 unidentified persons in connection with the incident.

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