40 injured in students-traders clash in Dhaka

Dhaka, April 19 : At least 40 people, including five journalists, were injured in clashes between traders and Dhaka College students in the New Market area of the Bangladeshi capital, forcing a Minister to allege on Tuesday that some people were attempting to fan communal fires in the country. Several journalists were allegedly beaten up by shopkeepers while covering the clashes between students and traders, the violence apparently sparked over bargaining for garments. Education Minister Dipu Moni said a “group” — she did not elaborate — was trying to create communal incidents in educational institutions by trying to create an unstable situation in the country. But these attempts will not succeed, she insisted. The Minister made the remark before attending a function organized by the district administration at Chandpur Circuit House. The Minister said: “I have seen a number of incidents in different parts of the country in recent times which show that when a group tries to create instability in the country… They are trying to give the situation a sort of communal look.” “The people of our country believe in non-communal consciousness… If those in charge of educational institution are involved in these incidents, appropriate action will be taken against them.” The students on Tuesday blockaded the New Market. All the shops in the area were closed and traffic on both sides of the otherwise busy road was stopped. The clashes started around midnight on Monday and the tension lasted until dawn. After the incident, the students of Dhaka College — one of the three main educational institutions located there — vowed not to let the shops reopen in New Market. Apparently, some of the students insisted on getting discounts on their purchases. When a section of the traders refused to relent, it first led to arguments, which developed into a free for all. All classes and examinations of Dhaka College were postponed on Tuesday. At one point, to quell the clashes, the fired tear to disperse the mobs. The students claimed that many of them were injured by rubber bullets fired by the police. The condition of one of the injured was said to be critical. Motorcycles parked on either side of the road were set on fire during the violence. The streets were littered with broken bricks and glass bottles. MAZ MR

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