Hefazat-e-Islam’s strike on March 26 on the popular non-stop Sonar Bangla train on the Dhaka-Chittagong route of Bangladesh Railway has caused extensive damage. Three drivers of a freight train were injured. The wrecked train was brought to the Pahartali factory on the eastern side of the railway for repairs. There, 108 broken glass and other defects of 14 coaches have been repaired. The engine has been repaired at Pahartali Marshalling Yard. Hefazat’s train was vandalized and he could not run for a day, causing a financial loss of around Tk 20 lakh. However, the railway authorities have not yet started an investigation into the damage caused by the massive vandalism and arson at Brahmanbaria station on March 26.
Meanwhile, 9 days after the attack on the Sonar Bangla train, the concerned department of the railways could not file a case. The case is to be filed in the Dhaka Divisional Manager (DRM) office of Eastern Railway. It is learned that the case was not filed till Tuesday. Asked about the non-filing of the case, a railway official declined to comment.
It is learned that the 14 coaches of the Sonar Bangla Express train which left Dhaka on March 26 had 265 windows. Of these, 108 windows of the custody were broken. In addition, the color rises in different places.
The Sonar Bangla Express started its journey on June 26, 2017 as the second non-stop train on the Dhaka-Chittagong route, 16 years after the launch of the first non-stop Subarna Express. The red-green coach brought from Indonesia took 16 passengers from Dhaka Kamalapur station to Chittagong. Earlier, the first non-stop intercity train Subarna Express started its journey on the Dhaka-Chittagong railway line on April 14, 1997.
Jahangir Alam, General Manager, Eastern Railway, told our time that an investigation committee has been formed headed by the Chittagong Divisional Railway Manager to look into the incident of vandalism in the glass and engine of the Sonar Bangla train. According to the investigation committee, the train was damaged to the tune of Tk 16 lakh. Besides, the train returned to Dhaka from Brahmanbaria station on the same day. So the passengers had to pay a refund of about two and a half lakh rupees.
Borhan Uddin, chief mechanical engineer of Eastern Railway, said Hifazat-e-Islam workers smashed 108 glasses of 14 coaches of Sonar Bangla. Later it was brought to Pahartali factory in Chittagong for repair. About 80 percent of the train’s glass was damaged. The glass of the window was broken due to the impact of the stone. In the meantime, the train has become suitable for movement. However, due to the lockdown, passenger trains are currently closed. The coaches were imported from Indonesia 5 years ago.
Leaders and activists of Hefazat-e-Islam clashed with police in Chittagong’s Hathazari after Friday prayers on March 26. In protest, students of Qaumi Madrasa vandalized and set fire to the Brahmanbaria railway station that afternoon. From then on, train services on Dhaka and Chittagong and Sylhet routes were stopped.
After the Friday prayers, during the chase at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka, Brahmanbaria became a city of horrors. Hefazat workers carried out horrific attacks all over the city. The attackers also set fire to public and private offices, Bangabandhu murals, various architectures of independence, the office of the police superintendent and the railway station. The railway line was uprooted and set on fire. Various tools were looted. As a result, Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet trains were closed from 4 pm.