Tear gas shell fired directly at Siddiqur
12:00 AM, August 08, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:04 AM, August 08, 2017

Tear gas shell fired directly at Siddiqur

Finds a DMP probe, says a constable mainly responsible, blames other policemen for neglect of duty

A constable fired a tear gas shell at Titumir College student Siddiqur Rahman damaging his eyes, a committee probing the police action has found.

Several other policemen, including officers concerned of Shahbagh Police Station, were also negligent in their duties, found the probe report submitted by the committee yesterday.

The constable from Public Order Management of police fired the shell "intentionally or unintentionally" pointing at the crowd instead of pointing 45 degrees upwards as per the rule, said a police officer close to the investigation team.

Police officers, including the ones from Shahbagh Police Station, were held responsible for not briefing the subordinates properly, the officer added.

Police earlier said Siddiqur might have got the eye injuries by being hit by a flower vase or brickbats.

The claim sparked a huge outcry on social media as a video footage showed a policeman shooting a teargas canister directly at agitating students, leaving Siddiqur on the ground.

Mir Rezaul Alam, joint commissioner (Operations) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, who headed the three-member probe committee, submitted the report to the office of DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia yesterday.

Asked about the findings, he said he was not entitled to talk about it and added that the commissioner may talk to the media.

The commissioner, who is out of the country now, will return tomorrow.

Siddiqur, being treated at Sankara Nethralaya in India's Chennai now, cannot see with his right eye. He perceived little light after the bandage of his left eye was removed on Saturday after a surgery, said a doctor accompanying him.

He has been in the hospital since July 27 with expenses paid by the government.

Doctors said it may take four to six weeks to tell whether Siddiqur will be able to see again.

Siddiqur's friend Sheikh Farid, who talked to him over phone, said Dr Lingam Gopal examined him yesterday.

“Siddiqur said the doctor informed that 90 percent of the retina in the left eye was damaged,” Farid said.

Siddiqur may return to the country on Friday after the doctor examines him again on Thursday.

Students of seven government colleges affiliated to Dhaka University were protesting at Shahbagh on July 20, pressing for a seven-point demand that included announcement of their exam schedules.

Police that night filed a case accusing around 1,200 unnamed students of attempting to kill policemen, rioting with lethal weapons and damaging properties.

DMP formed the probe committee on July 23 to look into the incident. Another committee formed by DMP's Ramna Division asked for two more days for submitting its report.

A member of the committee told The Daily Star that they too found negligence on the part of some policemen. 

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