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1988 Mass Killing: What happened on the day

  • Published at 11:13 pm January 20th, 2020
Laldighi
On January 24, 1988, while Awami League President and the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina was proceeding to Laldighi Maidan, police under the leadership of then commissioner Raqibul Huda carried out a horrific attack. Police shot pedestrians on the street, used tear shells and sticks to disperse crowds, that led to 11 deaths and over 150 injured UNB

As the procession, with Sheikh Hasina on a truck, crossed the Old Bangladesh Bank area near the venue, police interrupted the rally

It was around 1pm on January 24, 1988. Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, at the time Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, was leading a procession through the streets of Chittagong after she had addressed a public rally organized by Chittagong metropolitan Awami League at Laldighi Maidan.

As the procession, with Sheikh Hasina on a truck, crossed the Old Bangladesh Bank area near the venue, police interrupted the rally. 

Police barricaded the road in front of Kotwali Police Station. 

When the crowd tried to remove the barricades and move on, Chittagong Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mirza Rakibul Huda ordered his force to open fire at the crowd.

The truck’s helper, Abdul Mannan, died instantly. The indiscriminate firing by the police took the lives of at least 24 people on the day. The country was in the grip of military dictator HM Ershad. Hundreds of people were injured, according to eyewitnesses.

Sheikh Hasina escaped the attack as a number of activists formed a security cordon around her. Amid repeated requests from Sheikh Hasina to stop firing, police did not pay any heed.

The victims were first taken to General Hospital and later to Balurdighi crematorium, where journalists were not allowed.

On March 5, 1992, lawyer Md Shahidul Huda filed a case with a Chittagong court.

On May 14, 1998, the police submitted a charge sheet against 47 persons.

Later, the court directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to go into a further investigation of the case.

On October 14, 1999, Abdul Kader Khan, Assistant Superintendent of Police (CID), submitted the supplementary charge sheet accusing seven people of having been involved in the shootings.

Inspector Govinda Chandra Mandal, Constable Pradeep Barua, Constable Momtazuddin, Constable Mostafizur Rahman, Constable Shah Abdullah, Constable Bashir Ahmed and Constable Abdus Salam are among others who took part in and carried out the massacre.