Four people, including two brothers, were killed in ‘police firing’ at Gandamara village in Banshkhali upazila on Monday afternoon during a demonstration against the construction of a coal-based power plant there.Twenty people, including 10 cops, were also injured as the villagers clashed with the police during the demonstration.
Ferdous Ahmed, ward-1 member of Gandamara Union Parishad, told UNB that Anwar alias Angur, 40, and his brother Murtuza Ali, 42, sons of late Ashraf Ali of Uttar Charpara village, and Zaker Ahmed, 37, son of Nur Ahmed of Tonagazirbari village in the upazila — died on the spot while Zakir succumbed to his injuries at Chittagong Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
While Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Banshkhali Shamsuzzaman confirmed reporters about the death of the three people, additional superintendent of police (South) Habibur Rahman said they heard from locals that three people were killed in the clash. “But we haven’t found the body of any victim. So, it’s not possible to confirm the death officially.”
Police and locals said a group of people under the banner of ‘Coal-fired Power Plant Resistance Committee’ called a meeting at Gandamara union in the afternoon, protesting the construction of the power plant.
Another group, led by local Awami League leader Shamsul Alam Master, supporting the power plant project convened a separate meeting at the same venue and time.
Apprehending trouble, the local administration slapped Section 144 in Gandamara area.
However, members of the ‘Coal-fired Power Plant Resistance Committee’ gathered at the venue around 2:30pm defying the ban.
At one stage, they encircled the police and Ansar members deployed in the area, and threw brick chips at them, triggering a clash.
Later, police lobbed teargas shells and fired ‘rubber’ bullets to disperse them, leaving three people dead on the spot and 10 others injured.
The incident also left 10 policemen, including the Banshkhali officer-in-charge, and Ansar members injured.
The injured were taken to Banskhali Upazila Health Complex from where some of them, including Zakir, were shifted to the CHMH as their condition deteriorated.
Zakir died at the hospital around 9:30pm, said officer in-charge of Banskhali Police Station Sawpon Majumdar.
S Alam Group of Industries and a Chinese company are jointly setting up the 1,320 MW power plant in Banskhali upazila.
Several acres of land have been acquired for the power plant at Gandamara mouza of Banshkhali.