Police seen firing teargas shells and blanks to disperse the demonstrating students
Students of different schools and colleges, who were demonstrating as part of their movement for safe roads, have alleged they were assaulted and chased away by activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League and Awami Jubo League and police from their positions on the roads between Mirpur 10, 13 and 14 areas in Dhaka.
The chase-counter-chase started between Mirpur 10, 13 and 14 around 5:30pm yesterday, and went on for some time.
Witnesses at the scene said that at least five protesting students reportedly were injured when police charged batons.
The law enforcement officials were seen firing teargas shells and blanks to disperse the demonstrators.
Many photos and videos shared on social networking site Facebook also showed police members in riot gear and a number of unknown youths carrying sticks and metal rods violently charging forward to disperse the protesting students.
One of the videos also showed some policemen mercilessly beating some students on the stairs of a foot-overbridge.
Another video showed that a man, surrounded by policemen, smashed the camera of a photojournalist who was at the spot taking photos of the assault on students.
Some youths were also seen beating a journalist moments later.
The Dhaka Tribune, however, could not independently verify the incidents shown in the videos or the identities of those youths or men in civilian clothing.
Despite repeated attempts, deputy commissioner (DC), additional DC and assistant commissioner level officials of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Mirpur Division and the officer-in-charge of Kafrul police station could not be reached for comments regarding the police action on the students.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia on Wednesday had ordered the police to not apply any kind of force and tackle the ongoing students’ protest in the city peacefully.
A Facebook user named Sadat Kabir Rudro in a post claimed that his sister was sexually harassed and her friend was assaulted by police and Chhatra League activists near Mirpur 10 intersection on Wednesday evening.
He said they broke her camera for taking pictures and beat her friend. Sadat in his post shared a picture of his sister’s friend which showed bruises on the young man’s back.
Since Sunday, students of various educational institutions have been on the streets across Dhaka, blockading them and enforcing traffic laws on their own, as part of their protests against deaths of two college students in an accident on the Airport Road.
That eventually brought the capital to its knees. Public transport went off the roads, while the students brought to light that most of the vehicles that ply the Dhaka streets have no proper documents and their drivers do not have licences.
Such vehicles also included several from different security forces and government offices.