About 200 activists of pro-swami League* (AL) organisation Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and AL’s youth front Jubo League barricaded an intersection, vandalised vehicles and beat up a journalist and a uniformed policeman after an illegal cattle market they set up was evicted in Sylhet city yesterday.
While pedestrians and shopkeepers fled in panic, a contingent of some 40 to 50 police stood unmoving just yards away at Rikabibazar intersection. The District Police Lines is situated around 30 yards from the spot.
Lifting the barricade around one and a half hours later at 5:30pm, the activists, whom locals believe to be of Lamabazar, Medical Road and Kajal Shah areas, set up the market again on two half-a-kilometre stretches from Rikabibazar intersection, one leading to Mirer Maidan and the other Chouhatta.
Using loudspeakers, they claimed of having reached an agreement with the administration over re-establishing the market.
Intermittently they said out loud, “Police are part of the government…we are also the government’s men…we have no dispute with them…the market will run”.
This correspondent found the activists stopping trucks carrying cattle from going to the city’s lone authorised market in Kazirbazar and telling traders to unload the sacrificial animals at their illegal market…
The assaulted cop, whose identity is still unknown, was on one of the rickshaws and he fled toward the police lines.
During the assault on Kamkamur Razzaque Runu, journalist of private television channel RTV, his camera was snatched but later recovered by police…
*The Awami League are related to the ruling party of Bangladesh (they are not the Islamists — those ones are unbelievably crazy).