Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | ePaper

Shahbagh turns into battlefield

Cops clash with MATS students, 30 injured: Huge traffic jam created: Commuters face immense sufferings

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Police lob teargas shells, use water cannon on students of Medical Assistant Training School (MATS) in the city's Shahbagh area on Thursday to disperse them while they were staging demonstrations to realize their demands.

Staff Reporter :
A series of clashes between the students of Medical Assistance Training School (MATS) and Cops left at least 30 people injured in the city's Shahbagh area on Thursday.
Besides, the Cops also clashed with the activists of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front there. When MATS' students also joined with the activists of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front and looked in the clash with Cops the whole Shahbagh area turned into a battlefield.   
As a result, a severe traffic jam was created from Matshya Bhaban to Farmgate inflicting immense sufferings to the commuters.
When the MATS students started marching toward Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to submit a memorandum to press home their four-point demands, police obstructed them at Shahbagh intersection, triggering a chase and counter-chase between them yesterday noon.
At one stage police swooped on them and started clubbing the agitating students. The students became furious and also started pelting stones targeting the Cops. The MATS students also vandalized several vehicles at the time.
Police resorted to baton charge on the students and lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters.
At least 30 students were injured in the police action, the agitating students said, adding the police also detained about 100 students from the spot.   They also threatened to start a hunger strike at the Central Shaheed Minar if the Prime Minister does not agree with their four-point charter of demands.
When the situation became normal after one and a half hours long clashes, activists of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front were also marching towards the University Grants Commission (UGC) from the Dhaka University campus protesting tuition fee hike of public universities and medical colleges around 1:00 pm but police obstructed them.
Being barred when the activists of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front tried to break the police barricade, police also swooped on them and started clubbing them indiscriminately. The Chhatra Front activists also threw brickbats towards police, leading to a clash between them.
The MATS's students were staging demonstration there after failing to submit their memorandum. Samajtrantik Chhatra Front activists also joined their demonstration.
Later, the two groups launched attack on the Cops with brickbats and sticks. Additional Cops rushed to spot and they also chased the protesters.
At one stage police again swooped on them and resorted to baton charge. When police used water cannon to disperse them, the whole area turned into a battlefield.        
Maruf Hossain Sardar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Ramna Zone) said several policemen were also injured.
 "Police have detained some protesters for interrogating them," he said, adding their intention was to march towards the PMO or start a sit-in at the Shahbagh intersection, Sardar said.
 "There are two big hospitals here. Both patients and commuters will suffer if they start a sit-in. They can send representatives to the PMO," Maruf Hossain said.
Meanwhile, following the clash a severe traffic jam was created as chase and counter chase took place between the students and Cops at Shahbagh intersection and its adjoining areas.
Many people were seen standing still at different points of Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue and on other roads stretching from Shahbagh to Farm gate.

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