12 BCL men hurt as bus carrying them catches fire

At least 12 activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League were injured when a bus carrying them from Uttara to a BCL rally caught fire near Farmgate in the capital yesterday.

The bus of Raida Paribahan carrying more than 50 activists caught fire in front of Al-Razi Hospital around 10:30am, said Ataur Rahman, duty officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence.

A firefighting unit was immediately dispatched, but locals managed to douse the flames before they reached the spot, the official added.

It is suspected that the fire originated from gas balloons, which were used for decorative purposes, after someone on board lit a cigarette, Mazharul Islam, officer-in-charge of Tejgaon police, said.

“The injured have been taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital,” said Babul Miah, assistant sub-inspector of Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost.

All the injured are mostly teens to young adults ranging from 14 to 21, according to burn unit sources.

“They suffered minor injuries. Around 1 to 6 percent of their body was burned,” said Dr Partha Sankar Paul, resident surgeon, adding that the victims were kept in the observation ward and some of them might need admission.

Shakiluzzaman Bipul, BCL president of Uttara west unit, said there were two buses carrying at least 140 activists and some of them were carrying balloons.

“I was in the front bus and suddenly heard a loud bang from the second bus behind us,” he said, claiming that at least 13 activists were injured in the blast, which might have been the result of a petrol bomb.

Different leaders of BCL have visited the victims and would bear the expenses of their treatment, Bipul added.

OC Mazharul said they would investigate the matter.