50 injured in Bangladesh protests


Dhaka : Over 50 people sustained bullet wounds as villagers protesting the government’s attempt to acquire land for an army housing project clashed with security forces near the national capital.

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Angry villagers said they were forced to part with their land and attacked army camps, set a jeep on fire and damaged two other vehicles during the clashes Saturday in Roopganj, a sub-district of Narayanganj near Dhaka.

Two of those injured were in a critical condition with bullet wounds in their legs, media reports said Sunday.

Narayanganj district police chief Biswas Afzal Hossain told New Age newspaper late Saturday that the situation improved after the army withdrew from the camps.

Witnesses said the clashes broke out at around 9.30 a.m. when villagers were holding a rally in front of Tanmosori army camp demanding withdrawal of the four camps set up by the army at Nawara, Purbagram, Baraichhari and Tanmosori villages and cancellation of the army housing project.

The army confirmed injury to a civilian and three of its personnel and blamed the clash on “vested quarters”.

Amid continued protests, army authorities withdrew the camps and airlifted the troops by helicopters, witnesses were quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Soon after the army left the camps at around 4 p.m., the villagers set the camps ablaze and took away furniture and tin sheets, police said.

The ruling Awami League’s joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, also special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, blamed the leader of the opposition in parliament and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, for the incident, bdnews24.com, a newspaper website reported.