Ctg hawkers, traders go berserk

January 29, 2010

A fresh clash between hawkers and traders left several business establishments and makeshift shops damaged at Reazuddin Bazar and adjoining areas in the port city yesterday.
The violent clash that left some 22 people including seven policemen injured forced the Chittagong Metropolitan Police to impose section 144 in and around Reazuddin Bazar, Station Road, New Market and Amtala since 6:00pm.
The injured cops include CMP Deputy Commissioner (North) Banaj Kumar Majumder and Assistant Commissioner (Kotwali Circle) Helal Uddin.
The law-enforcers baton-charged, lobbed over 50 canisters of teargas and fired over 30 blank shots to disperse the conflicting groups and brought the situation under control after more than three hours.
Police and witnesses say the clash occurred when hawkers attacked the traders in Reazuddin Bazar Amtal around 11:45am when leaders of both sides were separately holding a meeting with the CMP chief after Wednesday’s clash.
The hawkers broke signboards and windowpanes of a good number of establishments including Banoful Sweetmeats, Regent Park Restaurant and National Bank in Reazuddin Bazar, Jalsha Market and Darul Fazal Market, witnesses said.
At one stage, the hawkers who took position at Jalsha Market started throwing bricks and burning kerosene bottles that caused a fire in the market. However, firefighters doused it shortly.
Ten platoons of police including the Armed Police Battalion and Range Reserve Force and four patrol teams of Rapid Action Battalion later brought the situation under control.
The CMP imposed section 144 in the adjoining markets and on both sides of a two-kilometre stretch of the road from BRTC bus station to Reazuddin Bazar Amtal.
Earlier, the traders’ leaders from Reazuddin Bazar Banik Samity and Tamakumandi Lane Banik Samity and hawkers’ leaders at the meeting with CMP Commissioner Md Muniruzzaman blamed each other for the clash.
Three separate cases were filed — two by each of the feuding groups and one by the police — accusing 2,500 people in connection with the clash.
The first clash ensued Wednesday evening when some hawkers assaulted Reazuddin Bazar Banik Samity president Salamat Ali for obstructing them from occupying footpaths and blocking the entry point of Reazuddin Bazar in front of new Railway Station.
At least 10 people were injured in the clash and traders evicted 200 makeshift shops of the hawkers.
The evicted makeshift shops were later burned down at around 10:00pm Wednesday triggering further clash yesterday morning.
The hawkers accused traders of setting fire to their makeshift shops, while the Samity leaders alleged the hawkers themselves burned the evicted shops as a part of a plot.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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