A total 10 people were injured, including four with bullet wounds, during a clash between police and villagers in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha on Monday. Locals also set fire to the Ansar camp in the area.
The clash reportedly took place when police went to Tarapur Union to investigate a case filed by Beximco Ltd.
Among the injured, Rezaul Karim, Shariful Begum, Salma Khatun, Akram Hossain and Afsar Ali were admitted to Rangpur Medical College Hospital. The names of the other injured are yet to be known.
Teesta Solar Ltd, jointly owned by Beximco and Chinese company TBEA Xin Jiang Sunoasis Co Ltd, recently bought 4 to 7 acres of land to set up a solar plant in Laatshala and Charkhorda village, according to police and local sources.
Locals have been against the set up of the solar power plant since the beginning of the initiative, and have been holding demonstrations under the banner of the “Krishi Jomi and Bastobhita Rokkha Shongram Committee.” They claim the project is hampering their livelihoods as they lose farm land.
On Saturday, when Teesta Solar Ltd workers set up a river dredging machine to fill the river with sand, locals went to the area and interrupted the company’s operations. Subsequently, a clash ensued between the villagers and workers, and the dredger was vandalized.
Teesta Solar Ltd filed a case with Sundarganj police station over the incident. When police went to investigate the scene at 4pm on Tuesday, villagers clashed with them as well and 10 were injured after police opened fire.
Later, the villagers surrounded the police and set fire to the Ansar camp on the Teesta Solar compound.
Extra police forces were deployed to the scene and rescued their trapped colleagues.
Krishi Jomi and Bastobhita Rokkha Shongram Committee organizer Mozammel Haque said: “We will lose the land of our ancestors, be out of work and not have any place to live if they setup the plant.”
Confirming the incident, Sundarganj police station OC Atiar Rahman said: “The situation is under control now and extra police have been deployed to the area.”
UNO of Sundarganj Golam Kibria said: “We have asked the local people to stay calm, and they returned to their homes before sun down.”
Additional Superintendent of Police Abdullah Al Faroque said warning shots were fired into the air, and that is why some people sustained minor cuts.
Superintendent of Police Abdul Mannan Miah said there would be an investigation over the incident.
Teesta Solar Ltd Managing Director M Rafikul Islam is yet to comment on the matter.