Hawker-trader clash at Gulistan leaves 10 people injured

A law-enforcer salvaging an ASI of Paltan Police Station, injured during clashes between the traders of Ramna Bhaban and the hawkers of the adjacent footpaths Friday. — Focus Bangla FE Report

At least 10 people, including policemen, were injured in sporadic clashes between roadside hawkers and traders in the capital's Bangabandhu Avenue Friday, police said.

Many of the injured persons were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for treatment.

Witnesses said the clash ensued about 2:30pm when traders and shop owners of Ramna Super Market at Gulistan tried to evict hawkers from the footpath, leading to an altercation.

At one stage of the brawl, both sides locked in scuffling to take control of the footpath as Eid-ul Fitr is just few days away.

The situation worsened about 2:50pm when shop owners started vandalising makeshift outlets of the hawkers, leading to the clashes.

Hawkers also responded to the attack through pelting brickbats and stones that turned the area into a veritable battlefield and forced the panic-triggered shoppers to run desperately for a shelter.

During chase and counter chase that lasted for nearly 90 minutes in the crowded shopping area, where low income people usually throng to purchase products for their near and dear ones.

Vehicular movements were also severely disrupted on North South Road, which connects the country's largest launch terminal Sadarghat with central Dhaka.

Police later arrested president of shop owners' association of the market Jahangir Alam who allegedly caused the trouble as his car could not be parked before the market due to hawkers' temporary shops.

Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of Paltan Police Station Abdur Rahim told the FE that the trouble erupted minutes after the businessmen moved to clear the footpath from illegal occupants.

"Several people, including ASI of the same police station Moinal, were rushed to the DMCH for treatment," he said, adding that the market authorities should consult with the local administration before taking such move.

"Now, normalcy returned to the area due to immediate intervention of policemen," he said, adding that additional number of police were deployed in the area to avert further clashes.

Hawkers alleged that the shop owners suddenly asked them to vacate the footpath after jumma prayers.

"They then launched the attack on them as we refused to obey their illogical order." said Abdul Matin who sells low-priced Punjabi and T-shirts in front of the super market.

He claimed the shop owners of the market have completely ransacked their temporary structures and looted all the goods.

Gulistan is a trading place for hundreds of vendors who sell products like T-shirts, shirts, socks, jeans pants, shoes, sandals, kids' items and shorts for years by occupying the footpaths.

News Source: 
The New Age