Six tourists visiting Rangamati district's police-run Polwel Park were injured allegedly by policemen in plainclothes and park staff, in a scuffle with them over ticket fees in the park's jetty area on Tuesday afternoon.
Critically injured tourist Mozammel Haque, admitted to Rangamati Sadar Hospital, had to get five stitches under his right eye.
Police claimed that three policemen were injured in the incident.
Sharif Miaji, one of the tourists, told The Business Standard that when their boat with 40 tourists reached the jetty a plain-clothed policeman asked them to pay Tk40 per person to enter the park.
"Since there was no gate or booth at the jetty, the matter seemed suspicious to us. At one stage, when we challenged the policeman and asked for his identity he behaved rudely with us," he said.
"At one point, 15-20 more policemen in plainclothes joined him and shoved one of us to the ground. They also attacked us with bamboo sticks, leaving six tourists injured," he added.
He also said, "Later, the Rangamati Superintendent of Police and some on-duty policemen from the adjacent police line came and saved us. If they had not come in time things could have been worse for us."
Admitting the matter, Kotwali Police Station Officer-in-Charge Kabir Hossain told The Business Standard the incident took place due to a misunderstanding between the tourists and policemen.
Rangamati Superintendent of Police Mir Modachcher Hossain said this unfortunate incident happened because the tourists, not aware of park rules, behaved rowdily and that three policemen were also injured in the incident.
Tourists have long objected to the management of Polwel Park. Saiful Islam, another tourist, told The Business Standard that he went to Polwel Park last week with his family from Kaptai Lake. When he got off the boat, a young man wearing a T-shirt and claiming to be a policeman, demanded Tk40 per person.
Locals said, although an entry fee of Tk40 per person is charged at the main gate of the park, tourists coming by boat are also charged Tk100 more per boat.
Although operated under the supervision of the police, all the money collectors are locals who often treat tourists rudely. There are no entrances or booths to collect ticket money from tourists.