A dispute over use of crackers on Shab-e-Barat night sparked it off

At least 10 people, including four women and two children, were killed in a clash at a camp of the ‘stranded Pakistanis’ here on Saturday. The camp of the Pakistanis, locally known as ‘Biharis’, is situated in Mirpur locality.

A dispute over use of fire-crackers on the night of holy Shab-e-Barat is said to have sparked off the clash between the ‘Biharis’ and the locals. However, some locals, including police officials, claimed that it was between “groups of Biharis” over using fire-crackers, not between Biharis and the locals. The police and locals said miscreants attacked the ‘non-Bengalis’ camp in the morning and set fire to at least 10 houses.

The camp shelters thousands of Urdu-speaking Muslims who prefer to call themselves ‘stranded Pakistanis’ and want to go over to Pakistan. But Pakistan refused to accept them ever since Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.

Eyewitnesses said they saw the ‘Biharis’ attacking the police when they tried to stop them using fire-crackers as it was prohibited. Informed by locals, fire fighters rushed to the camp and brought the blaze under control. Security has been stepped up in other such camps following the clash.