Hartal continues amid violence; 1 dead

The 36-hour hartal, enforced by the BNP-led 18-alliance, is progressing amid violence that left a truck driver dead in Bogra as pro-hartal elements took to the streets in the northern district town early Tuesday.

The victim was identified as Khokon Mia, 35, son of Jainal Abedin of Matidali Biman crossing in Bogra Sadar upazila.

Victim’s helper Rahmat said the truck carrying wheat was on its way to Bogra town from Dinajpur when a group of pickets showered brick chips on it near Barpur Bridge around 5am, leaving the driver injured.

He was rushed to Bogra Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital with injuries in his chest, where he died after admission.

Police later held six people from the area in this connection. Another truck was torched in the area following the attack.

The opposition alliance enforced the countrywide 36-hour shutdown at 6am today (Tuesday) to realise its various demands, including the release of its arrested leaders and activists.

Though the countrywide 36-hour shutdown began at 6am on Tuesday, the Bogra district BNP enforced an extended 48-hour hartal in the district from 6pm on Monday to push for the same demand.

About 50 vehicles were vandalised and five set afire at different parts of the district on Monday night. Hartal supporters blocked the Bogra-Dhaka Highway at Noymile in Shajahanpur upazila by placing logs on Monday night.

Meanwhile, bomb blasts, arrests and vehicle torching also marked the first six-hour of the shutdown in capital Dhaka and elsewhere of the country.

In the capital, eight crude bombs were exploded at five places in the city. Islami Chhatra Shibir activists brought out a procession at Dakkhin Banasree in the city around 5:30am. A passenger bus was torched by the Shibir men at that time.

Hartal supporters brought out processions at 10 other places of the city, but police dispersed the processionists. Police also dispersed a procession, brought out by BNP, and arrested a picket from near BRAC University at Mohakhali. Police held another picket along with three bottles of petrol from Khilkhet in the city around 7:30am.

Huge law enforcers were seen posted in front of the BNP’s Nayapaltan central office in the morning. Educational institutions remained closed, but government and non-government offices are open, though the attendance is thin. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws are dominating the city streets because of lesser presence of motorised vehicles.

Huge law enforcers are guarding the city streets to maintain the law and order. Meanwhile, anti-hartal processions were brought out by associate bodies and organizations friendly to Awami League rejecting the hartal.

Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote and Dhaka division Sramik League brought out processions in front of National Press Club while Ulema League, Jubo League brought out another procession in front of Bangabandhu Avenue in the city.

In Sylhet, Jamaat-Shibir men exploded 12 crude bombs in the city’s Upashahar, Shahi Eidgah, Pathantula, Medina Market, Shibbari and Old Railway Station areas from 6 am to 7 am. They also vandalised three CNG-driven auto-rickshaws in Pathantula area.

A chase and counter-chase took place in the city’s Chouhatra point when police intercepted Chhatra Dal activists from picketing around 9 am. Police seized a motorbike left behind there by its owner Chhatra Dal leader Zakir Hossain.

In Gazipur, pickets tried to halt vehicular movement on roads in Tongi by exploding crude bombs and burning tyres in the morning. Police later chased them out.

In Khulana, five-six crude bombs were exploded in different places of the city. Pro-hartal activists also vandalised eight battery-run Easy-bike.

Sonadanga police detained 20 Jamaat men, including Sonadanga thana Jamaat Ameer Nazibur Rahman, on Monday night.

In Laxmipur, police intercepted a procession brought out by 18-party activists in the town’s Tamuhuni area in the morning. Protesting the incident, they staged demonstrations on Laxmipur-Ramgati road.

BNP joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed announced the shutdown programme from a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office on Sunday afternoon. He was later taken into custody on Monday night.

The hartal call came soon after three Dhaka courts on Sunday sent 10 senior BNP leaders, including its acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, to jail in seven cases filed over March 1 violence.