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Dhaka Tribune

800 small, medium shops burnt, damaged in Hefazat rally

Update : 08 May 2013, 05:43 AM

Hefazat-e-Islam’s violence on Sunday has left about 800 shops burnt in Purana Paltan, Dainik Bangla and Motijheel, causing total losses of over Tk200m, shop owners’ associations say.

“In this market [Baitul Mokarram Shopping Complex] six jewellery shops on the second floor were completely burnt down and on the first floor, 40 to 45 shops were damaged partially,” Hazi Iqbal Uddin, joint secretary of Baitul Mokarram Traders Group said. “Most ornaments in the shops lost their colouring. The total losses of the shop owners is about Tk70m,” he added.

Purana Paltan Small Hawkers Welfare Association Secretary M Kabir Hossain and Advisor M Sirajul Islam said, “There are 250 members of the association and about 175 shops were burnt in Hefazat’s violence.”

“Our traders sold shirts, t-shirts, pants, belts and caps. Most of them had loans from the cooperative and the total losses from the incident is about Tk20m,” he said.

M Anowar Hossain, a member of Mitali Small Traders Multi-Purpose Cooperative said, “Hefazat set fire to about 400 small shops on Sunday night. We have lost everything. The total losses are about Tk60m.”

“Hardware, cosmetics, toys, stationery and fruit shops were in the cooperation and all were burnt,” he added.

Mohammad Liton, a small book shop owner who lost his shop said, “All the book stalls stocked different types of books.

About 35 shops were burnt. “We think the losses are about Tk6m,” he added.

Mohammad Saju, a lineman for wayside shops in front of Baitul Mokarram and the National Sports Council building, said,

“There are about 350 shops on both sides of the road. All of them were burnt. The losses are about Tk60m.” Ranjit Kumar, a lineman for hawkers at Dainik Bangla intersection said about 15 shops were burnt down there and total losses were about Tk200,000.

Rejaul Bashar, a hawker in Motijheel area said the hawkers in that area had been warned by the police on Friday and had moved their stalls.

Sunday night’s violence also damaged many offices in Motijheel and Paltan.

Mofizur Rahman, an executive of the Purana Paltan branch of Janata Bank was found directing cleaners to clear out the debris from the burnt office.

“What can I say, you can see for yourself – Hefazat has burnt down everything in the bank,” he said. The bank was on the first and second floors of the building. All documents and furniture in the bank was burnt. Fortunately, the money was safe, officials said.

A notice hangs in front of the office assuring customers that although all paper documents in the bank had been burnt, their records were safe in the bank’s database. The notice also directed the customers to the nearby foreign exchange and corporate branch.

Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (BHBFC) authorities said that during Sunday’s violence, Hefazat men had set fire to their building and vandalised 23 cars, burning 11 of them.

BHBFC has filed a case in the Paltan Police Station and sent a letter to the finance ministry to take instruction concerning the situation. The state-run lender has estimated its losses at almost Tk182m.

The Communist Party of Bangladesh alleged yesterday at a press conference at their headquarters in Mukti Bhaban that five cars were completely burnt, and the lift and structural condition of the building were damaged. The total loss of CPB was estimated at over Tk30m.

The relief and disaster management ministry has been conducting a survey to calculate the total losses and identify victims.

“We are still conducting the survey, so we can’t say how much the total losses are without completing it,” M Nurul Islam, project implementation officer of the relief and disaster management ministry told our correspondent on Tuesday.  

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