Entrepreneurs have taken to producing and selling improvised hand bombs – known locally as “cocktails” – to meet the growing demand of agitating political party leaders and activists.
Law enforcement agencies say they have become more vigilant, and are now preparing a list of suppliers so that illegal activities like these can be stopped.
The use of hand bombs to create panic has become common during political demonstrations in favour of shutdowns and other agitation. The bombs present significant risks as they spray shrapnel. Multiple reports of injury caused by such bombs to both police officers and civilians have been filed in different parts of the country during violent demonstrations.
With the volatile political situation, demand for these bombs has increased, triggering an associated increase in the prices producers charge. They are being sold at around Tk500 each while 300g of explosives costs Tk5,000, a representative of Rab said.
Ziaul Ahsan, director of the intelligence wing of Rab told the Dhaka Tribune that a group of people were making and selling these bombs. “We are looking into the matter,” he said.
In two separate raids, carried out on Wednesday, Rab arrested seven people with a large amount of bomb-making materials from two houses in the city’s Jatrabari and Mohakhali areas. Those arrested were identified as Mohammad Mostafizur Rahman alias Preshon, 30, Rafiqul Islam,22, Mohammad Mohsin, 30, Abdus Sattar, 36, Selim Mia, 25, Mohammad Jainul Abedin, 23, and Azizur Rahman alias Aziz, 25.
Captain Abhishek Ahmed, Rab’s deputy director of the legal and media wing, told the Dhaka Tribune that Aziz was arrested first by Rab1. He was allegedly carrying a quantity of gunpowder and other chemical substances, along with 11 rounds of ammunition at Sattola Bosti, a Mohakhali slum.
The officer also said that following this arrest a Rab10 team arrested the others with ammunition and bomb-making materials from a house in the Momenbagh area. The Rab team also recovered 100g of sulphur, 50g of gunpowder and 1kg of stones, all of which are used in bomb-making.
On April 2, Rab members arrested Siraj Hossain, 22, with seven hand bombs and 300g explosives at Mazar Road of Jurian in Shyampur.
Siraj allegedly confessed he was carrying the bombs and the materials to sell to pro-hartal activists.
The additional deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch, Sanowar Hossain, who is also the head of bomb disposal unit, told the Dhaka Tribune that the DB was preparing a list of suppliers of explosive materials and others involved in the matter.