Bashundhara battlefield

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Asianbangla, Dhaka: An armoured personnel carrier slowly rolled down the street. Behind it came about a hundred policemen — some wielding sticks and many shotguns and teargas guns.

Moments later all hell broke loose with shell after shell fired at the other end of the road where hundreds of students carrying sticks and brick chips were chanting slogans.

Thick smoke engulfed the area, leaving people with burning eyes and choking while the students were running into alleys only to regroup again.

Tyres were burning right in the middle of the streets. A black microbus came out of the North South University (NSU) with three or four students inside — all bleeding from pellet injuries — and sped towards Apollo Hospitals.

These are scenes from Basundhara residential area, otherwise a quiet neighbourhood where people take evening walks and children play on the streets in the afternoon. But it wore a different look after 12:30pm yesterday as over a thousand students fought pitched battle with police.

Some 40 injured people, mostly students, were rushed to Apollo Hospital, according to a doctor at its emergency department. Some passersby, policemen and street children were also hurt during the clash.

Earlier in the morning, police swooped on the students of East West University (EWU) who had waged agitations at Rampura in solidarity with the countrywide student movement for road safety. Subsequently, a group of outsiders equipped with iron roads and sticks pounced on the students.

Under attack, students and teachers alike took shelter inside the campus at Aftabnagar with police and stick-wielding youths parading past their gates. The students and the youths outside exchanged brick chips until about 4:00pm.

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