Clash between two groups of toll collectors on Patlai river waterway, 30 injured
At least 30 people were injured in a clash between two groups collecting toll from a boat carrying coal-limestone on the Patlai river in Tahirpur of Sunamganj.
Three villagers were involved in an organized clash at the upazila’s Sreepur market from morning to noon on Monday. Some of the seriously injured on both sides were admitted to Tahirpur Upazila Health Complex, Zilla Sadar Hospital and Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital for treatment in the afternoon.
According to local sources on Monday evening, several people, including Rifat of Nayabandh village and Samad Talukdar of Tarang village of the upazila, were temporarily appointed to collect the toll from the coal-limestone transport boats on the Patlai River in Tahirpur. Rifat, Samad and some others who were with him were exempted from the duty of collecting tolls for misbehaving with the captains and owners. Jilani, son of Sajinoor Mia, a UP member of Mandiata village in the upazila, has been recruited by the lessee to collect tolls.
Meanwhile, several people including JT of Samad BIWT of Tarang village and several people including Jilani, who was in charge of toll collection, were threatened and abused through social media Facebook for the last few days and it turned into a clash on Monday morning. In the morning in the upazila’s Sreepur Bazar, there was an argument between Samad Talukdar of Tarang village and Akik Maral of Shivrampur village on the subject of threats and abuse over the phone. At one point the people of Tarang, Shivrampur and Kurerpara villages clashed in the market. Shops in the market were closed during the clashes. Several shops in the market were vandalized and goods and furniture damaged.
The injured on both sides are Samrat Talukdar, Ronik Talukdar, Lokman, former member of Anwar Kurerpara village, Shahnur Mia, his son Kabir Mia, Murad, Samayun of the same village, Tarikul, Kamrul, Hasan Mia, Akik Maral of Shibrampur village.
Ashrafuzzaman Roni, the lessee of BIW of Patlai River in Tahirpur, said that Rifat and Samad Gangra have been harassing various boats in the name of collecting toll on the waterway for the past two months. After coming to know about this, I dismissed them a few days ago by exempting them from the work of toll collection. Then the clash that took place in Sreepur market on Monday is their personal matter. Neither I nor the lessee of BIWTL have anything to do with this incident.
Syed Iftekhar Hossain, OC of Tahirpur police station, said that legal action will be taken if a complaint is received about the clash.