Monday, 31 January 2011
Demo against airport at Arial Beel Police-protesters clash leaves police officer killed, over 100 injured
A police official was killed and over 100 others injured as a massive demonstration against the proposed Bangabandhu International Airport at Arial Beel Monday erupted into rioting between law-enforcers and the protesters.
Sub-Inspector Motiur Rahman succumbed to his injuries on arrival at Mitford Hospital in the capital.
Additional SP Saiful Islam confirmed the death of the police SI and said, “The injured officer and others were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Mitford Hospital. SI Motiur died at Mitford. Of the injured, seven are in critical condition.”
Saiful Islam, however, claimed the situation in the area was brought under control with the help of the elite-force RAB at about 3:15 pm.
Earlier at 1pm, Nimtali Bridge area in Sirajdikhan upazila turned into a veritable battlefield as police and protesters locked into clashes during the blockade programme sponsored by Arial Beel Raksha Committee.
Witnesses said police used water cannon, fired teargas shells and bullets to disperse the demonstrating people.
Earlier in the morning, people wielding sticks swarmed out of villages onto the street and blockaded the Dhaka-Mawa Highway on a stretch of eight kilometers.
Shahjahan Badal and other leaders of the resistance committee said that scores of people were injured in police action.
Officer-in-Charge of Srinagar Police Station Sakhawat Hossain told banglanews that people blockaded the highway at about 10 am. They also vandalized vehicles, set fire to a motorcycle of a journalist and attacked some other journalists.
“Despite repeated request to calm down, the protesters attacked police with brick chips and sticks. Under the circumstances, police used tear shell and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control,” the OC said.
The committee made the announcement of the road-blockade plan last Thursday, as part of their ongoing protests against the selection of the airport site.
In a latest development, leader of the opposition and ex-PM Khaleda Zia expressed her BNP party’s solidarity with the movement of the locals against the massive scheme on transforming the vast water-body into an airport-cum-new city after the name of country’s founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Shops in Nimtali, Hasara and Srinagar areas remained closed in what looked like a hartal-like situation.
Security was beefed up on both sides of Dhaleswari Bridge and Keraniganj, Nimtali, Hasara and Srinagar areas.Earlier on December 27, some 30,000 people formed an 8-km-long human chain from Shologhar to Nimtali in Srinagar upazila on the same issue.
The process of acquiring land for constructing the planned Bangabandhu International Airport has begun, as the government moves to start at the soonest the massive construction works that are estimated to cost some Tk 50,000 crore.
Of the total 25,000-acre area, 10,895 acres of the wetlands are in Srinagar upazila of Munshiganj, and 7,017 acres in Nawabganj and 7,188 acres in Dohar of Dhaka.