The Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) held six suspects over the deadly clash between Dhaka College students and New Market traders that left two individuals dead and at least 50 people injured.
The suspects were being interrogated at the Detective Branch office and RAB headquarters in the capital separately on Sunday evening while this report was being filed, according to a top DMP official.
But there were no official statements available from detectives or RAB regarding the details of the detainees.
RAB raided the International Hall of Dhaka College on Sunday afternoon, said students. On condition of anonymity, a student said the battalion whisked up one Jahir Hasan Jewel and seized two mobile phones during the drive.
Jewel was a former leader of the convening committee of Dhaka College Chhatra League – the student wing of ruling Awami League – and also an accounting student of the college.
Fierce clashes broke out between Dhaka College students and adjacent New Market traders on Monday night last week. The fight dragged on the next day leaving deliveryman Nahid and New Market trader Morsalin dead and at least 50 people injured.
Four cases were lodged subsequently. Local BNP leader Advocate Mokbul Hossain was made the prime accused in one of the cases. Mokbul is now in police remand.
Meanwhile, closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage, photos and details of a group of armed individuals linked to the death of Nahid and Morsalin started making round-ups in social media and made the headlines subsequently.
One of the footage shows a group of helmeted individuals wielding machetes chopping Nahid even though he was lying motionless in front of a market.
The media disclosure coupled with the RAB raid caused a thick layer of tension among the students, as they were leaving the dormitories in droves on Sunday.
In condition of anonymity, another student of Dhaka College said police can raid the halls at any time. So many have left the dorms since Saturday night. But the number of pupils left the campus on Sunday ahead of Eid was remarkably high.
"I had no plans to go home this Eid as I had been taking preparations for job exams. But my worried parents are calling everyday," said the student.
HM Azimul Haque, deputy commissioner of Detective Branch (Ramna Division), said those involved in the killings of Nahid and Morsalin are under police radar.
"We are questioning the suspects. But innocent students are being screened so that they are not harassed," he told The Business Standard.
According to the police, individuals involved in Nahid murder are Emon, Monaim, Kawsar, Rabbi, Sadiq Mirza, Zakir and Sujan. All of them are known to be involved in Dhaka College Chhatra League politics.
Fouad Hasan, former joint convener of Dhaka College Chhatra League, said there are several groups of the student wing of the ruling party in Dhaka College.
"I do not know the suspects and I am not sure whether they actually belong to Chhatra League," he claimed.
SM Qaiyum, officer-in-charge of New Market Police Station, said he was not aware of the RAB raid on Sunday afternoon. "Our investigation and drives are going on," he said.
In contrast to the tense situation on the campus, sales in New Market were quite as usual ahead of Eid. However, traders said they were not getting enough customers.
Dewan Aminul Islam Shahin, president of the New Market Traders' Association, said, "We are fulfilling the comments we made including more customer-friendly and harassment-free shopping environment. All the other promises will be kept gradually."