Skirmish erupts when the Islamist hardliner group men started throwing brick chips at the law enforcers
At least 20 people, including several policemen, were injured on Friday afternoon when supporters of Hefazat-e-Islam clashed with the law enforcers at Gazipur’s Chandona area.
However, no one was in a critical state, police said, adding that several people were arrested in this connection.
A number of leaders and activists of the Islamist group gathered on the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway in the area soon after Jumma prayers on Friday, to hold protests over recent the deaths of their fellows in countrywide clashes with police.
As the police appeared on the scene to thwart the protest, the Hefazat men started throwing brick chips at them. In retaliation, police fired scores of shotgun bullets and tear gas shells, some witnesses said.
In the meantime, the two groups chased and counter-chased each other.
The skirmish disrupted traffic in the area for at least an hour, police said.
Hefazat activists said they brought out a procession from Chandona Chowrasta Jame Masjid and also protested in the Board Bazar after the Jumma prayers.
A clash broke out after police, who were already armed, started baton-charging them, they claimed.
Gazipur Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sharifur Rahman said the Hefazat men were told to stage the protests on the mosque premises.
“But at one stage, they locked into an altercation with us over demonstrating by blocking the highway, and all of a sudden, they began pelting brick bats on us,” he said.
“So, we had to baton-charge and fire more than 100 shotgun bullets and tear gas shells to disperse the protesters," he said, adding, seven of his colleagues were injured in the brawl.
The police official went on saying that several people were arrested over the incident and that the situation returned to normal by 4:30pm.
Mowlana Maqsud Karim, the district unit chief of Hefazat, however, claimed they did not hold any protest in the Chandona area on Friday, but demonstrations were staged in the Board Bazar area.