50 injured in coast guard-mob clash

Barguna, Aug 18 (bdnews24.com) — At least 50 people received injuries when Coast Guard officials fired and charged batons on local fishermen during a clash at the district’s Patharghata Upazila.

Coast guard’s Patharghata contingent personnel claimed that nine of their members were injured in the clash that took place on Friday morning at Padma village of the upazila following seizing of fishing nets.

Locals said the clash ensued when coast guard members rejected the fishermen’s request to give the nets back and assaulted them physically.

Komola Begum, one of the injured, told reporters that coast guard members, led by petty officer Bakul Hossain, raided the area and seized the nets for non-payment of extortion.

Fishermen alleged that the coast guard burnt 40 metres of their nets.

Witnesses said following the rejection to give back the nets, locals and fishermen gheraoed and attacked the coast guard members. The mob also attacked the local camp of the coast guard when its members managed to flee and reach there.

Petty officer Bakul confirmed that they fired 48 blank shots and 69 rounds on the mob. “We fired just to save ourselves,” he told reporters.

Of the injured, four received bullets. They were identified as Shahjahan Khan, 35, Oliul Islam Olil, 25, Shah Alam, 40, and Komola Begum, 30. The bullet-injured three males were taken to Barisal She-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital.

Komola, ‘Jalal’, ‘Majnu’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Biren’, ‘Abul’ and ‘Faruque’ were admitted to Patharghata Upzila Health Complex.

Patharghata contingent commander Lt Harun-ur-Rashid said: “We told the fishermen not to use those type of nets to catch fish. The nets were seized as they didn’t obey the order.”

He, however, denied the allegation of asking for extortion.

Defending firing at the mob, he said: “The coast guard members could have died unless they started firing.”

Patharghata police chief Uzzal Kumar Dey told reporters that the situation calmed down after they arrived in the area. Additional police have been deployed there to avoid further untoward incidents.
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