Police disperse Rampal protesters with water cannon, tear gas

Staff correspondent | Published: 12:45, Oct 18,2016 | Updated: 17:04, Oct 18,2016


Police firing tear gas to the leaders ang activists of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports on Tuesday at Malibag level crossing.-- New Age photo

Police on Tuesday dispersed the Rampal protesters using water cannons and firing tear gas shells after their procession reached Malibag level-crossing in the capital.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports was marching towards the Indian high commission in Gulshan to submit its letter to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi asking him to scrap the joint-venture coal-fired power plant at Rampal near Sunderbans.

After a scuffle with police at Mouchak intersection, the Rampal protesters broke a barricade at 1:00pm and headed towards Malibag level-crossing and faced another barricade there.

As they tried to move forward, police swooped on them with tear gas, water cannon. 

Later, a five-member delegation of the committee went to the Indian high commission under police escort to deliver the letter after the agitation.

‘An official of the high commission took our letter, but refused to give a received copy’, said Rahnuma Ahmed, who was on the delegation.

‘We don’t know the identity of the official, who took the letter’, she told New Age.

The official said that he could not provide the received copy of the letter’, Rahnuma said.

The committee member secretary Anu Muhammad,also Jahangirnagar university professor,  said at least 30 people were injured during the attack.

Police cordoned off them and launched the attack on their peaceful procession, he alleged.

The committee would hold rallies countrywide on October 20, protesting the police attack, he added.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of Ramna zone Dhaka Metropolitan Police Maruf Hossain Sorder said the protesters did not seek any permission for the march. 'They (protesters) were supposed to submit their letter through a team of representatives, he said.

When the protesters tried to march forward injuring police members breaking their barricade, law enforces refrained them with water cannon and tear gas, he added.    

Hundreds of leaders and activists of different left-leaning political parties including Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal and Ganasanghati Andolan gathered at the national press club premises around 11:00am this morning, witnesses said.

Convener of the committee, Sheikh Md Shahidullah, Dhaka University professor emiratus Serajul Islam Choudhury, the committee member-secretary Anu Muhammad led the procession.

Anu Muhammad said earlier on July 28 they marched towards prime minister’s office when the government using law enforcers attacked them instead of receiving their letter.

‘However, we reached our letter to prime minster anyway, but there was no reply to it rather different types of harassments upon the protesters were on since then,’ he said.

‘Today we are going to deliver our letter protesting the power plan to Indian prime minister peacefully through Indian high commission, as India is also a partner of the project’ he added.

The procession was heading Bijaynagar via Paltan intersection at about 12:30pm while a large number of law enforcers were seen deployed around the area. 

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