Sporadic incidents of vandalism, arrest, explosion of crude bombs and ransacking of vehicles marked the last day of the BNP-led 18-party alliance’s countrywide 36-hour hartal on Thursday.
The opposition alliance enforced the shutdown from 6am on Tuesday demanding the release of its leaders and activists arrested from BNP’s Nayaplatan central office on March 11. The hartal ended at 6pm today.
The shutdown was also meant for mounting pressure on the government to restore the non-party caretaker government, forcing the ‘failed, incompetent and autocratic regime’ to quit.
Addressing a post-hartal press briefing at the party’s central office, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir claimed that over 575 leaders and workers of the party were arrested across the country during the 36-hour shutdown.
“Over 935 leaders and workers were injured and six sentenced to one year in jail by mobile courts and ‘false cases’ filed against 1938 party activists across the country during the hartal,” said Mirza Fakhrul.
As on the first day, educational institutions remained closed, but government and non-government offices were open, though the attendance was thin.
Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws dominated the city streets as the presence of motorised vehicles was less. Train services were, however, normal.
Huge law enforcers guarded the city streets to maintain the law and order. However, a handful of pickets were seen picketing on the streets in the capital.
A number of pickets were arrested, over 15 bombs blasted, several vehicles torched and damaged by pickets at different parts of the capital during the shutdown.
A crude bomb was found lying in an abandoned condition near the main gate of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
On information, a team of police, led by AB Siddique, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station, recovered the bomb, wrapped up with scotch tape, at about 10:45 am.
A cocktail was blasted in front of Aparajeyo Bangla on the Dhaka University campus at 11:10 am.
Police arrested a number of people as a chase and counter-chase took place between police and Chhatra Shibir men when the latter tried to bring out a procession at Bibir Bagicha in the city’s Jatrabari area around 7am.
Police fired blank shots to foil a procession of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal near Al-Helal Hospital in Mirpur around 7:50am.
Police foiled another procession of Swechchashebak Dal at Kadamtali Wasa Road in Shyampur around 8am.
At about7:30 am, Chhatra Shibir workers of Jagannath University unit brought out a procession in the city’s Ahsan Manzil area.
Shibir activists brought out another procession near Mirpur Commerce College and exploded three crude bombs in the area.
Police fired 10-12 rubber bullets to foil a procession of Swechchasebak Dal at Shantinagar where several crude bombs were exploded from the procession around 8:15 am.
Reports of stray incidents of violence also reached the UNB news desk from elsewhere in the country.
About 15 vehicles were vandalised, three vehicles torched, 21 crude bombs were exploded in Gazipur, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Feni, Mymensingh, Narayanganj, Khulna, sirajganj, Satkhira, Sylhet and Magura districts during the hartal hours.
Police also arrested over 50 people from the 11 districts.
Besides, at least eight, including four policemen, were injured in clashes between law enforcers and hartal supporters in Satkhira, Rajshahi and Chittagong districts.
Hartal supporters also blocked roads at different points of the country.