Rabiul Hossain has seen people go up in flames in cinemas. But it was beyond his imagination that he would experience it firsthand, that too involving his three colleagues.
“Brother I have never seen this kind of grievous scene,” the emotionally choked man told The Daily Star at Chittagong Medical College Hospital's burn unit yesterday, narrating how the three were screaming and writhing in pain while desperately trying to douse the flames by rolling in a sand pile by the road.
Moments ago he and the three had jumped off a moving pickup van, narrowly missing another unsuspecting one which rammed their vehicle from the back, forcing it to run onto a roadside field.
Fearful of losing their jobs on failing to meet the monthly target, the salesperson of a dealership on a contract with Meghna Group of Industries was out distributing goods with salesperson Jhantu Paul, 28, his assistant Md Zillur Rahman, 19, and driver Md Anwar, 20.
Sitting atop goods on the back of the van, he saw two youths aged around 25 years appear on the left and throw three fire bombs in quick succession while they were passing Sheikh Para in Panthichila of Chittagong's Sitakunda upazila on Tuesday around 8:30pm.
Those broke through the side window and also landed on the back. Jhantu and Zillur's faces and shirts caught fire, spreading to Anwar sitting next to them. Rabiul first took them to Sitakunda Health Complex, from where they were shifted to the hospital.
The doctors predict a grim future for all three are in critical condition with inhalation injuries. Jhantu had 30 percent burns all over his body while Zillur and Anwar suffered 12 and 9 percent burns respectively in their faces and hands.
Anwar's mother Rehena Akhter was wailing by the side of the family's sole breadwinner fearful of the fate of those dependent on him. “We are poor people. We do not understand politics. Why did they attack my son? Now who will look after my family?”