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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Dhaka police beat up sports hero
By Waliur Rahman
BBC News, Dhaka

Asif Hossain Khan
Mr Khan denies provoking the police
One of the few Bangladeshi sportsman to triumph in international competitions has been admitted to hospital after being severely beaten by police.

It is now doubtful whether he and two other marksmen who were also hurt will be able to participate in the Asian Games in Qatar this December.

Asif Hossain Khan became a national hero after winning a gold medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

He was among a group of men involved in a scuffle with police on Monday.

Ferocious argument

The disagreement was over a car parking space outside the National Shooting Complex in the capital, Dhaka.

The Home Minister, Lutfozzaman Babor, said that he regretted the incident, but said police acted only after they came under attack from Mr Khan and other marksmen and staff at the complex.

Asif Hossain Khan (left) after the confrontation
Mr Khan (left) is now doubtful for the Asian Games

The confrontation apparently began following a trivial argument between a security guard of the complex and the chauffeur of a car carrying the wife of a senior police officer.

The chauffeur was asked by the guard not to park his car in front of the complex because it was not a proper parking space.

The two became embroiled in a ferocious argument which became violent within minutes after the guard was joined by his colleagues and the chauffeur by a patrol team of police.

Even more police officers rushed to the complex soon after the disturbance began.

Officials at the complex alleged that the police then started beating whoever they found inside the building.

They said many of the 30 or more marksmen who were practising inside the complex came out to know what was happening, and found themselves falling victim to indiscriminate beatings.

Vehemently denied

During the melee, Asif Hossain Khan's left arm was fractured. He was also arrested on charges of assaulting the policemen.

Four others - two of them shooters - were also arrested.

Asif Hossain Khan
The shooter says he was unfairly attacked

All the five men were later released on bail and are now undergoing treatment for their wounds.

Home Minister Babor said the incident was regrettable. But he said the police were wearing uniform when they came under attack at the complex.

"You cannot attack and assault a policeman in uniform," he said.

Twenty-year old Mr Khan and his colleagues have vehemently denied that they attacked the policemen.

"We in fact tried to stop the brawl but police would not listen to us," the Commonwealth Games gold medallist said.

The National Shooting Federation termed the police action as barbaric.

Its Secretary, Nazimuddin Chowdhury, demanded a judicial inquiry and punishment of those responsible.

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