Courtesy: New Age, Dhaka, main page, 24 Oct 2010
Three army personnel were injured in mob attacks and a civilian sustained wounds in shots fired accidentally when unruly villagers pounced on an army camp and tried to snatch their weapons during a violence instigated by ‘vested quarters’ to hinder land purchase for an army housing project at Roopganj on Saturday, an ISPR press release said.
The injured were airlifted by an air force helicopter to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital and the temporary camps of the Army Housing Scheme were withdrawn, the press release added.
Detailing the incident, the ISPR said that the process for purchasing land from the local people of Roopganj in Narayanganj at market price through negotiations had been under way since the beginning of this year under the army housing scheme.
A vested quarter became active over the last few months to block the project in various ways and instigating an anti-army and anti-AHS sentiment among the locals. Under the circumstances, there was an understanding between the local elites and the AHS authorities on October 19- 20 and a decision was reached to continue the negotiation until October 30.
Defying the process, an unruly group of local people on Saturday morning set up barricades at some places of Roopganj sadar. At about 9:00am, some of the unruly people entered the hired premises of the AHS project and created disturbances. The situation was brought under control with the assistance of police and Rapid Action Battalion.
At about 10:00am, the unruly group brandishing locally made weapons attacked the temporary office of the project set up at Mosori to demarcate the purchased land. Two army personnel were injured in the attack and the mob went on a rampage, including vandalizing government vehicles.
Later at about 11:00am the unruly people regrouped, gathered more people and launched a third wave of attack on the temporary camp during which another army man was injured.
At one point, the group tried to snatch away weapons from the army personnel which led to a few rounds of shots accidentally fired leaving a civilian injured. The agitated mob split into groups and blocked all the exits of the camp and refused to let the personnel take the injured to nearby hospitals.
Later the civilian and the three army personnel were airlifted to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital by an air force helicopter.
The land purchase scheme for the AHS project is being carried out totally with personal funds of the army personnel and it has nothing to do with land acquisition. For this, the AHS authorities are continuing negotiations with the local land owners and leaders and so there is no scope of any misunderstanding.
Under the circumstances, to remove all misunderstanding and pave the way for discussion with the locals and local representatives, the army authorities decided to withdraw all temporary camps from the area which was completed by the afternoon.
However, some of the articles of daily necessity remained on the office premises. The AHS authorities hope that the matter would be settled through discussions and the prevailing laws and the land purchasing process for the project would continue.