Shockingly, the deceased had been shot either in the head or chest
Four out of the five people who were killed in violent clashes with police following attacks on puja mandaps in Hajiganj on October 13 were innocent bystanders, family members of the deceased have claimed.
They also said they were shocked that the deceased had been shot either in the head or chest, suggesting that the shooters had the intent to kill.
Immediately after the clash, three people– Yasin Hossain Hridoy, 16, Al Amin, 19, and Md Bablu, 28 – were brought to Hajiganj Health Complex and declared dead on arrival.
The health complex referred Sagor Hussain, 24, to Chandpur General Hospital. He was then transferred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on October 19.
Shamim Hossain, 17, was recently undergoing treatment at Chandpur Sadar Hospital when he died.
Apart from the five deceased, 10 civilians and 23 policemen were injured in the violent clashes.
Faisal Ahmed, residential medical officer of the health complex, said most of the injured policemen had extensive bruises, while the civilians were mostly injured by rubber bullets. However, the deceased all had gunshot wounds.
Among the five deceased, only Hridoy was caught hurling brickbats near a temple on a CCTV camera.
What happened during the clashes?
Ayesha Akter, elder sister of Al Amin, said the latter had gone to Hajiganj Bazar to buy assignment sheets as he was preparing for the SSC exams. At her request, he went from there to the main road to recharge her mobile phone balance.
Soon after Al Amin sent the money, violent clashes erupted in the area. He was shot during the commotion.
Matiur, the elder brother of pick-up van driver Sagor, said he normally returned home using the Hajiganji-Ramganj bridge underpass. When he saw a procession protesting the alleged desecration of the Quran in Comilla, Sagor tried to take a different route but was still caught in the violence and shot in the head.
Police in their case statement over the clashes named Sagor as one of the accused.
Asking to remain anonymous, a vendor said Shamim was shot in the chest while waiting behind his banana stand and he remained there for almost 20 minutes.
The incident with Bablu was the strangest, as he was standing on the seventh floor of an under-construction building but was still hit by a bullet, said his wife Bebi Ara Khatun.
Chandpur police Inspector (investigation) Ibrahim Khalil said the police had only fired blanks and did not shoot directly into the crowd.
Families left in tears
Hridoy’s father Fazlul Haque, who is an expatriate worker and returned to Bangladesh three months ago, said he never imagined that he would have to bury his son.
“On the side of the Hajiganj-Ramganj road, I have a small piece of land that I have developed recently as a family burial plot. I never imagined that my only son would be buried there at such a young age,” he said in a voice choking with emotion.
Bablu, who used to install tiles, came to Hajiganj for his livelihood. His wife said they have two daughters who are both under the age of five, and Bablu was the sole breadwinner of the family.
“I don’t know what to do and how I will run the family. I have responsibilities to my daughters as well. All I see is darkness everywhere,” Bebi Ara Khatun added.
Sagor’s brother Matiur said their mother Momena Khatun had a stroke last month and was already in need of medical care. Her son’s death has hit her hard and led to a deterioration in her health.
Matiur further said the family’s sufferings had been intensified by his innocent brother being named as an accused in the case over the violence.
Shamim’s father Abbas said the family had lost their child but no one from the local administration had come to console them, as though they were not part of society.
The family members of the deceased have demanded justice for their deaths and an investigation into how they could have been shot in the head or chest.