District hartal progresses amid clashes, vandalism

Police fire teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse a BNP procession in Rajshahi city during the first day of 18-party-enforced 36-hr shutdown. Photo: Star

Police fire teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse a BNP procession in Rajshahi city during the first day of 18-party-enforced 36-hr shutdown.

The 36-hour hartal (shutdown) enforced by BNP-led 18-party alliance is progressing amid clashes, vandalism and arson across the country on Tuesday.

The 18-party called the shutdown protesting a Dhaka court order denying bail to seven top BNP leaders.

Over 35 people, including president of BNP Rajshahi unit Nadim Mostafa, were injured in chase and counter-chase and clashes between BNP men and police in Rajshahi and Narayanganj. Law enforcers had to fire rubber bullets and teargas shells in the two districts to disperse the activists.

Besides, pro-hartal activists vandalised more than 17 vehicles in Sirajganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Khulna and Pirojpur. A pickup van was set on fire in Mymensingh.

RAJSHAHI

Over 100 activists of BNP and its associate bodies led by Nadim Mostafa brought out a procession from Sadar Hospital intersection in the city around 7:00am.

The clash started when surrounded the procession in front of Rajshahi College.

Ziaur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Boalia Police Station, said BNP men hurled a cocktail and threw brick chips targeting the law enforcers in front of Rajshahi College forcing them to fire rubber bullets and teargas shells.

Nadim Mostafa, who received rubber bullet in his leg, claimed that 30 of his party men were injured during the 15-minute clash.

Police fired rubber bullets and teargas shells on the procession without any provocation, Nadim claimed.

District BCL president Shafiqul Islam Somapto and three female activists are among those who suffered rubber bullets.

Raihan, a camera crew of Ekattor Television, was also injured after he was hit by a teargas shells lobbed by police, witnesses said.

Protesting the ‘police action’, BNP men blocked fire Brigade intersection for 20 minutes around 9:00am by burning tyres.

On information, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the activists firing rubber bullets.

Law enforcers also shot rubber bullets in front of Rajshahi University at Kazla when Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal men were picketing there.

NARYANGANJ

Pickets vandalised a bus in Panchabati area of Fatullah around 6:45am.

A chase and counter-chase took place when police intercepted a procession of BNP, JCD and Jubo Dal activists at Shaheed Bappy Smrity Sharani in the city.

At least five of the processionists sustained injuries during the incident, claimed Maqsudul Alam Khandaker Khorshed, convener of the city unit Jubo Dal.

Manjur Kader, OC of the Sadar Police Station, said police fired a gunshot and a teargas canister to bring the situation under control.

Meanwhile, Shibir activists blasted at least 10 cocktails on Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Dhun Haji in Siddhirganj upazila in the morning.

Later, they brought out a procession on the highway and were resisted by police.

Police fired several shots in the air to disperse the Shibir men, said Abdul Matin, OC of the Siddhirganj Police Station.

Shibir activists brought out a procession in Kalibazar area of the city around 6:00am. They also poured petrol on Nawab Sirajuddowla road and set it on fire.

SIRAJGANJ

Pickets vandalised at least five trucks in Tatbazar in Raiganj upazila around 6:00am, reports our Pabna correspondent quoting witnesses.

Police detained three persons from the district town on charge of picketing in the morning, said Rafiqul Islam, OC of Sirajganj Sadar Police Station.

MYMENSINGH

In a pre-hartal violence, pickets set fire to a stationed covered van on Gafargaon-Bhaluka road in Gafargaon upazila around 5:30am.

Meanwhile, police detained Rafiqul Islam, a local Jubo Dal leader, from in front of the upazila headquarters on charge of picketing, said Saiful Islam, OC of Gafargaon Police Station.

SYLHET

Activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir, a pro-Jamaat student wing, brought out a procession, blasted at least six crackers and torched tyres at Pathantola on Sylhet-Sunajganj highway around 7:00am, locals said.

BNP district and city units brought out separate processions at Zindabazar around 8:00am.

No-long distance bus left or entered the district since morning.

Rickshaw and auto-rickshaws were seen dominating the city streets. The train service remains normal, Station Manager of Sylhet Railway Station Abul Kalam Azad said.

BOGRA

BNP men blocked roads at Bagopara, Khander intersection, Sutrapur and Riaz Kazi Lane in the city by felling logs and burning tyres.

Police dispersed the activists and removed the logs and burning tyres to free the roads.

Law enforcers were seen patrolling in the district town by armoured personnel carriers (APC) since morning to avert any untoward incident, said Nazir Ahmen Khan, assistant superintendent of police (Bogra Circle-A).

NARSINGDI

BNP men activists vandalised a CNG-run auto-rickshaw and blocked Dhaka-Sylhet highway at Bhelanagar in Narshingdi town in the morning after a police obstructed a procession led by Khairul Kabir Khokon, president of district unit of BNP, on the highway.

The auto rickshaw driver Jahangir sustained severe injuries.  Police nabbed three persons from the spot in this connection, said Md Asaduzzaman, OC of Kotwali Police Station.

CHANDPUR

Hartal supporters blocked Chandpur-Comilla road by fell timber and burning tyres at different points.

Pickets vandalised several auto-rickshaws on Matlab-Pennai road.

Police detained four pickets during the hartal, said Amir Jafar, superintendent of police in Chandpur.

KHULNA

A group of JCD activists vandalised five battery-run human haulers in front of the Khulna Metropolitan Police Headquarters on Khan Jahan Ali Road in the city around 10:00am.

Resisted by police, they hurled two hand bombs targeting police but those were not exploded. Later, police defused the bombs, said Shahbuddin Ahmed, OC of Kotwali Police Station.

At Sonadanga, Shibir men hurtled two cocktails and brick chips on police when law enforces chased their procession around 6:00am, said SM Qamruzzam, OC of local police station.

Shibir man blasted three hand bombs and vandalised two human haulers when police resisted their procession at Powerhouse intersection around 7:30am.

PIROJPUR

Picketers vandalised a covered van, a tempo and an auto-rickshaw in the town during the hartal.

Source: The Daily Star

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