6 more die in 2nd spell of blockade

Speeding vehicles trying to escape arson attacks cause deaths of three
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At least six people were killed and over 200 others injured on the first day of 72-hour blockade enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance, only 25 hours after the completion of a similar three-day programme.

On Saturday’s blockade, which started at 6am demanding cancellation of the polls schedule and protesting filing of “false” cases, was also marked by violent incidents of arson attacks and vandalism of vehicles, and use of crude bombs in various places of the country.

During the previous blockade, at least 21 people were killed across the country.

In the capital’s Gabtoli and Green Road, blockade supporters on Saturday exploded handmade bombs and engaged in chases with law enforcers. Police arrested two people from Green Road area after they dispersed activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir, students’ wing of Jamaat.

Rickshaws and CNG auto-rickshaws dominated the city streets in the morning as the number of buses and private cars was visibly low. However, no long-route bus left Mohakhali, Sayedabad and Gabtoli terminals fearing vandalism.

Rail communications on Dhaka-Chittagong, Chittagong-Sylhet and Chandpur-Laksam-Sylhet routes remained suspended for a few hours as blockaders put barricades on the rail tracks.

Incidents of arson attacks, bomb blasts, vandalism and clashes between blockaders and police supported by ruling party men were also reported from different districts including Chittagong, Chandpur, Rajshahi, Gazipur, Moulvibazar, Sirajganj, Khulna, Meherpur, Barisal, Natore, Noakhali, Gaibandha and Rangpur.

The opposition will also enforce separate daylong hartals in Rangpur, Kurigram, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Dinajpur districts and four upazilas of Sylhet tomorrow on different grounds.

In the capital’s Malibagh Chowdhury Para, trader Habibur Rahman, 35, was killed and five others injured as a bus crushed two rickshaws being chased by pickets with petrol bombs in the evening.

The injured were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Mozammel Hoque, inspector of the DMCH police outpost, confirmed the death to the Dhaka Tribune.

In another incident, several passengers sustained injuries as a bus came under attack of blockade supporters in Mohammadpur area in the afternoon.

Moreover, around 20 people were injured in separate clashes between police and BNP-Jamaat in the capital’s different places when the pickets hurled bombs and police opened fire.

In Bogra, one person was killed after being hit by a speeding bus in Mokamtola area. Another died after falling from the roof. The bus driver was trying to escape from the rage of the opposition supporters.

At Shahjahanpur, pickets attacked Rab men with crude bombs and locked into a clash while the law enforcers. Police arrested five from the spot.

In Jhenidah, Shibir activist Israil Hossain, 18, was shot dead and 10 people injured as blockade supporters clashed with policemen in Kotchandpur upazila around 10am.

He was shot when Shibir and BNP brought out a procession and locked in a clash with the police near the bus stand.

Pabna Jubo Dal activist Mahbub, 38, was killed and seven BNP men injured as a truck ran over them being chased by the blockade activists on Natore-Kushtia highway in Ishwardi upazila in the evening.

The incident took place when the pickets brought out a procession at Natunhat intersection near Lalon Shah Bridge around 6:30pm. They later torched the truck although its driver and helper managed to flee the scene.

In Chittagong, pedestrian Nimai Nath, 45, was killed as a pickup, being chased by blockaders, ran him over at Nayakhal on Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar highway in Satkania upazila.

In Barabkunda area of Sitakunda, the driver of Chandpur-bound Meghna Express was injured as blockade supporters hurled stones targeting the train. Injured Mohammad Jalal, 45, was taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.

Over 20 people, including three police officers and the upazila nirbahi officer of Monirampur upazila, were injured in a clash between blockade supporters and law enforcers in the afternoon in Jessore.

In Monipur, BGB men opened fire and charged batons as pickets put blockade by electric poles and hurled brickbats at them.

Yarab Hossain, Satkhira correspondent of the daily Manabjamin, was stabbed and beaten up at Akhrhakhola crossing in Satkhira around 11am. The Jamaat-Shibir activists also torched his motorbike. Locals took him to Satkhira Sadar Hospital.

Pickets in Rajshahi set fire to four trucks loaded with over 30 tonnes of rice and a microbus at Kantakhali of the city where the pickets clashed with the law enforcers, hurled over 20 crude bombs and petrol bombs.

In Brahmanbaria town, at least 15 people, including a police personnel, were injured in a clash. Pickets exploded over 100 bombs while police fired bullets during the clash.

In Meherpur, a clash between supporters of Awami League and BNP-Jamaat left at least 12 people injured while several business establishments and houses were looted and vandalised.

A clash at Borolekha of Moulvibazar left around 20 people, including two policemen, injured while the pickets damaged several vehicles. Police fired gunshots and arrested nine of the pickets.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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