A man was killed in a shootout as angry locals vandalised and set fire to Saltha UNO residence, police station and Upazila Parishad in protest against "an assault" on a man for violating lockdown rules on Monday night.
Police allegedly opened fire in self-defence during the attack, killing Jubayer Hossain, 18, of Ramkantpur Union, Ramakantpur Union Parishad Chairman Ashraf Ali Litu told The Business Standard.
Four to five other people were wounded in the shootout.
The incident erupted after a local man named Zakir Hossain was allegedly beaten up by the assistant of Upazila Assistant Commissioner (land) Marufa Sultana Khan Hiramoni at Fukra Bazar under Sonapur union.
Zakir claimed that while Marufa Sultana was inspecting the lockdown enforcement, a man got down from her car and started to beat him with a stick without any warning. Zakir was taken to the Upazila Hospital with a severe waist injury.
Agitated local residents later engaged in a clash with a team of police led by SI Mizanur Rahman of Saltha police station, forcing them out of the Fukra Bazar area.
Following the clash, residents along with Fukra Bazar shopkeepers first besieged Saltha Police Station and Upazila Parishad office seeking justice for Zakir.
At one point, they turned violent and set fire to the UNO's residence, AC Land's office and the police station. Two vehicles of the UNO's office and several motorcycles were also burnt in the attack.
Saltha Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Hasib Sarkar claimed that anti-liberal forces had launched the attacks by spreading rumours.
"Almost every government office in our upazila was attacked, vandalised and set on fire in a medieval manner. They also attacked the Muktijoddha Mural and Muktijoddha Complex. We need a proper investigation into the matter," he said.
Faridpur Superintendent of Police Mohammad Alimuzzaman said the public had misunderstood government instructions on the first day of the lockdown.
"At one stage rumours were spread and various government offices were vandalised and set on fire. Eight law enforcement agency members were injured in the attack," he added.
Saltha Police Station Officer-in-Charge Ashiquzzaman said the police came under attack when they reached Fukra Bazaar after receiving information from AC Land Marufa Sultana Hiramoni.
Meanwhile, police tried to control the situation by firing some blank rounds.
Additional police and RAB forces from neighbouring police stations and districts brought the situation under control.
A Saltha police official said several cases would be filed on behalf of the injured policemen.
He said three people had been detained so far in connection with the incident.
PROTEST RALLIES, HUMAN CHAINS IN SALTHA
The Faridpur Upazila Awami League staged a demonstration on Saltha Upazila Parishad premises on Tuesday afternoon, protesting against the attack on offices of Saltha Upazila Parishad, Saltha Police Station, Muktijoddha Complex and Bangabandhu's mural in Faridpur.
Later, the freedom fighters formed a human chain in front of Muktijoddha Complex.
Shahdab Akbar Labu Chowdhury, political representative of Deputy Leader of Parliament Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, was present as the chief guest and said the country was moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. To thwart such progress, anti-independence forces were waging violence across the country.
In line with their plans, they had attacked Saltha. Those who carried out the attack will not be given any concessions. "I, along with the people of Saltha, will resist them," he added.
Earlier in the afternoon, leaders of Faridpur District Awami League and Swechchhasebak League visited the spot.
District Awami League Joint Secretary Jharna Hasan, Kotwali Thana Awami League President Md Abdur Razzak Mollah, District Swechchhasebak League President Shawkat Ali Zahid, District Awami League member Abu Naim, Saltha Upazila Awami League President Md Delwar Hossain and others were present.
On Monday night, an angry mob spread rumours, vandalised and looted various government offices in Saltha. They set fire to UNO's and Assistant Commissioner's (Land) cars. A young man named Jubayer was injured and later died. A case is under process at the police station.