Fresh clashes erupt between Dhaka College students, New Market traders

Students and shopkeepers embroil in renewed clashes after violence in the wee hours of Tuesday

Fresh clashes erupted between Dhaka College students and New Market traders on Tuesday morning following the confrontation in the wee hours of the day.

Witnesses reported running battles between students and shopkeepers with crude bombs being exploded.

Agitated people are seen wrecking an ambulance on Mirpur road, after another clash erupted between Dhaka College students and New Market Traders Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Traders occupied the street in front of the Gausia mall while students took position on the road in front of the college’s main entrance.

Around 10:30am, students armed with sticks and iron rods took to the streets and started hurling brickbats. Soon after, the shopkeepers came out and fought running battles with the students, according to witnesses, who said explosions could also be heard in the area from time to time.

Students, however, claimed that they had come out to hold a peaceful human-chain demonstration protesting the traders’ earlier actions. According to them, traders attacked their procession with brickbats at the Nilkhet intersection, following which a clash erupted.

An ambulance with a patient inside was vandalized near the New Market foot-overbridge around 11:45am. Several people from either side were left injured in the skirmishes.

Police finally arrived at the spot around 12:50pm with an armoured vehicle and a water cannon to put an end to the violence, according to media reports.

When asked about the delayed response, Deputy Police Commissioner Sajjadur Rahman of the DMP's Ramna Division told an online media outlet that efforts were being made to resolve the conflict through discussions.

Picture shows agitated people throwing cocktails during a clash between Dhaka College students and New Market traders Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

“All shops in New Market and its surrounding areas are closed,” said Inspector (operations) Haldar Ajit Thakur of New Market police station.

“The students are occupying the road and shopkeepers have gathered in different groups. We are trying to tackle the situation.”

The violence also led to the closure of shops in the area during the busy shopping period ahead of Eid.

At least 20 people, including pedestrians and media persons, were injured in the fresh clashes, according to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). 

Dhaka College, New Market clash on Mirpur Road Tuesday, April, 19, 2022 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

“Some of the victims who have sustained injuries in their head have been referred to the neurosurgery department,” said Md Alauddin, a resident DMCH doctor.

The others are being treated at the emergency department, he said before adding: “None of the 20 patients at the emergency department came with critical injuries. Several of them have been discharged after first aid treatment.”

Traffic remains suspended on the road between Science Laboratory and Nilkhet intersections, causing gridlock on the streets around the area.

Earlier in the day, the Dhaka College authorities suspended all academic activities for Tuesday.

The announcement by the acting principal was made around 4am in a Facebook post, which also asked all teachers to be on the campus by 10am.

People are seen during a clash between students of Dhaka College and businessmen of New Market in the New Market area of Dhaka on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Bangla Tribune

The initial clash erupted just after midnight after three students were assaulted by shopkeepers following an altercation, said media reports quoting Dhaka College students.

A number of shops were vandalized and several traders were also physically assaulted in the attack.

The intense situation persisted for around two and a half hours with running battles taking place during the period on the Mirpur Road.

Photo shows a fire lit by businessmen of New Market following a clash with students of Dhaka College in the New Market area in Dhaka on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Bangla Tribune

Traffic came to a halt in the area as both sides set fire to tyres and other objects on the streets. They also threw brickbats at each other.

Police had to fire tear gas to quell the violence.

Around 2:30am, the students went back to their campus and the traders returned home, Sharif Mohammad Faruquzzaman, an assistant commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told an online newspaper.