Hartal on with blasts, clashes

Labourers sit and wait for contractors to hire them near the footbridge at Mirpur-1 in the capital yesterday. With back-to-back hartals since Monday, there has been very little work to go around. They had grim faces worried about how they would survive without work since the next working day without hartal is likely to be Monday next week. Photo: Palash Khan

Labourers sit and wait for contractors to hire them near the footbridge at Mirpur-1 in the capital yesterday. With back-to-back hartals since Monday, there has been very little work to go around. They had grim faces worried about how they would survive without work since the next working day without hartal is likely to be Monday next week. Photo: Palash Khan

The pro-hartal activists clashed with ruling party men and police, blasted crude bombs and carried out vandalism on the last day of the 36-hour countrywide hartal yesterday.
At least 32 people were injured in different incidents of violence while police detained BNP leaders and activists from different districts during the hartal hours, report our district correspondents.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance enforced the shutdown demanding release of their top leaders.
With yesterday’s shutdown, the alliance has enforced hartals for 18 days since January 31.
Meanwhile, Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, called for a daylong hartal today protesting the “torture of its detained president Delwar Hossain in police remand”.
The shutdown forced the authorities to reschedule yet another exam of Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent levels. Today’s scheduled exams will now be held on April 19, said education ministry sources.
Three districts of Chittagong Hill Tracts — Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban — would remain out of the purview of today’s hartal. They had been exempted from the purview of the hartal yesterday.
During yesterday’s shutdown in the capital, pro-hartal activists exploded several crude bombs in Fakirapool, Tejgaon, Paltan, Bijoynagar, Farmgate, Mirpur, Khilgaon, Malibagh, Sabujbagh, Sayedabad and Jatrabari areas and vandalised vehicles in other places.
Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were seen in good numbers on the city thoroughfares and the presence of public transport was relatively higher than during other recent hartals.
Long distance buses were seen standing idle at terminals across the country but rail and launch services were normal.
Although the education institutions remained shut, a large number of business establishments were seen open yesterday.
In Naogaon, at least 15 people, including four policemen, were injured in a clash between BNP and ruling Awami league (AL) activists at Prosadpur Bazar of Manda upazila yesterday morning.
Monirul Islam, assistant superintendent of police of Manda circle, said AL men brought out an anti-hartal procession at Prasadpur Bazar intersection while opposition activists were marching towards the same venue in support of their hartal.
The clash ensued around 10:45am when the hartal supporters started hurling brick chips on AL men at Chourasta intersection of the bazar. The clash continued till 12:00pm, he said.
In Dinajpur, at least 12 persons, including five policemen, were injured as BNP men clashed with police.
The clash erupted as police barred the pro-hartal activists from bringing out a procession from their party office, said witnesses. Several chases and counter chases between hartal supporters and policemen took place in the town till noon.
In Narayanganj, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) activists clashed with law enforcers in Barafkal area of the city, leaving at least five people injured.
Police said JCD men set fire to a truck and vandalised five vehicles in the area around 7:00am. The clash ensued when the law enforcers chased their procession.
Pickets set fire to logs on railway tracks in Boro Station area of Chandpur-Laksam route around 8:30am yesterday. Members of the Government Railway Police (GRP) rushed to the spot and put out the blaze.
Meanwhile, GRP yesterday took special security measures in inter-city trains under Bangladesh Railway East Zone to evade subversive activities in rail communication.
It deployed two armed policemen in the locomotive of Dhaka-bound Mahanagar Godhuli.
In the wee hours of yesterday’s hartal, miscreants torched an AL office in Sharei area under Bagerhat municipality around 12:45am.
Pickets vandalised vehicles and exploded cocktails in different areas of Chittagong, Gazipur and Barisal districts, and also blocked the Dhaka-Narsingdi highway.
In Chittagong city, miscreants torched a city passenger bus at New Market intersection yesterday evening ahead of today’s day-long shutdown called by Islami Chhatra Shibir.
The bus was burnt but no one was injured, said Md Shahabuddin, sub-inspector of Kotwali Police Station. On information, fire fighting units rushed to the spot and doused the flame.
Pro-hartal activists also set fire to tyres at different intersections in the city including Probortak, Chawkbazar and Bahaddarhat to create panic among people, said witnesses.
They also blasted cocktails at different points of the city yesterday evening.

Source: The daily Star

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