Student protesters teargassed in city


Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
At least 120 people, including seven photo journalists, were injured in a fresh attack allegedly by the ruling party men led by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) in city's Jigatola, Science Lab and Mirpur areas during the eighth consecutive day on Sunday of the students' protests demanding safe roads.
Like the previous day, police also on Sunday fired teargas shells to disperse the protesters from Jhigatola intersection and Science Lab area creating massive panic among the students and mass people.
Earlier on Saturday, some 25-30 pro-government youths wearing helmets launched the attack  on the students who were controlling traffic at Jigatola intersection in the afternoon. At one stage, the attackers also fired gunshots targeting the students that caused injuries to several dozens of students.
Suspected activists of BCL were seen scattered all over the area in Science Lab and the roads leading to Katabon and Hatirjheel from Banglamotor since Sunday afternoon. They beat up anyone with mobile phone in their hands around the area.
Meanwhile, several thousand university students on Sunday blocked Shahbagh intersection, one of the city's busiest areas, protesting Saturday's attacks on school and college students at Jigatala during their demonstrations demanding safe roads.
Students of Dhaka University, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital and Bangladesh University of Science of Technology (BUET) started gathering at the intersection around 11:00am and blocked the road, disrupting vehicular movement.
Seven photojournalists were injured as BCL men allegedly swooped on them this noon while they were taking pictures of students' protest at Science Lab intersection.
The injured are AM Ahad of international news agency the Associated Press (AP), Zawad of the Daily Janakantha, Palash of the Banik Barta, Rimon of US-based Zuma Press, Sharif of the Dainik Naya Diganta, freelancer Rahat and Enamul Hasan, a photography student of Pathsala South Asian Media institute.
Earlier, the students took position in the area and started controlling the traffic system. After nearly an hour, several thousand students from DU, BUET and DMCH joined the protesters at Science Lab with a procession, reports our DU correspondent.
Around 12:50pm, all of them with a big procession reached Rifles Square in Jhigatola and started a sit-in there. At one stage, police lobbed about 50-60 tear gas canisters in the area to disperse the student protesters and bring the situation under control.
The situation became normal around 1:15pm in Jhigatola area as the students returned to Science Lab. But police again fired at least 10 rounds of tear shells to disperse them from Science Lab area.
Students took position at different points of the area and no vehicles were allowed to pass through the area during the period.
A team of Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) was seen taking position in front of BGB Gate-4 in Jigatola and assisted students and pedestrians, who were trapped in different alleys, to move to safe zone.
In Dhanmondi, a group of 300-400 BCL men of Dhaka College unit appeared the scene wearing helmets around 1:50pm and chased the students who took position in Dhanmondi-1 area. They also threw brick chips at the students.
Besides, another group of 200 BCL men were seen staging showdown in front of Dhanmondi Awami League office around 2:15pm.   
Some women were also reportedly assaulted by the BCL men near Star Kabab in Dhanmondi, a shop keeper said seeking anonymous.
"A group of seven photojournalists were standing in front of Dhaka City College with the police, covering the ongoing student protests, when the Chhatra League men attacked them, said photojournalist Al Emrun Garjon. They dragged the photojournalists from there and beat them badly. Among them, A M Ahad was beaten in head and in his legs badly. The attackers also broke his camera.
AP photojournalist Ahad was taken to Lab Aid Hospital in a bloodied state. He is now at the emergency ward of the hospital.
The attackers also vandalized a Nagorik Television vehicle that was parked there. Mirpur-10, Police barred a procession of the protesters as they did not allow any crowd to gather at the intersection or any other nearby places, reports our staff correspondent from the spot. 
Around 200 students gathered at Mirpur-2 and moved in a procession towards Mirpur-10 around 12:15pm chanting slogans, "We want justice".  Meanwhile, Awami League activists and transport workers took to the streets at Mirpur-1 on Sunday morning, a week after students launched protests in Dhaka demanding safe roads.
Several hundred activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League and Awami League joined with them in front of the Sony Cinema Hall.
Councillors from various wards and other local leaders led the march, which ended with a gathering in front of the cine hall 10:00am.
Awami League leaders say they chose the location because students had held demonstrations in the area in the past few days. Their demonstration aims to protest "anarchic elements" who are taking advantage of the student protests, they said.
Meanwhile, transport workers blockaded the Dhaka-Chattogram highway at Barik Building intersection in Chattogram in the afternoon.
The blockade created a long tailback from the city's Agrabad road to Chittagong Custom House (CCH), reports our correspondent from the spot. At Farmgate, a group of miscreants wearing helmets and equipped with sticks swooped on the students of University of Asia Pacific while they were heading a procession there around 12.30 pm. Being dispersed, students returned to their campus.
Students from BGMEA University of Science & Technology, Uttara University, International University of Science & Technology, Rajuk Uttara Model College and Daffodill International University blocked roads chanting slogan "We want Justice." The protestors bared journalists from taking pictures or making any video.
Earlier, miscreants attacked the vehicle carrying outgoing US ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat as she was leaving the residence of Badiul Alam Majumder, secretary of civil society advocacy group Shujan, in the city on Saturday night.
The US ambassador was attending a courtesy dinner at Majumder's house in the capital's Iqbal Road in Mohammadpur area, reports media.
Shusashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar has filed a general diary over attack on his house in two times, said Jamal Uddin Mir, Officer-in-Charge of Mohammadpur Police Station.
On July 29, a bus of Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan ploughed into a crowd waiting for a bus on Airport Road at Kurmitola, killing Dia Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib, students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College, and injuring at least nine others.