Hit-and-run tactic marks hartal

US embassy vehicle vandalised in city; police van torched in Brahmanbaria; bus torched in Savar; highways blocked in different districts

Shibir activists set fire to a tyre on Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Mouchak bus stand in Siddhirganj of Narayanganj during the countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal on Tuesday.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir activists resorted to hit-and-run tactics during their countrywide daylong hartal on Tuesday.

Stray incidents of clash, arson, vandalism, chase and counter-chase and detention marked the hartal in the capital and elsewhere of the country.

Obstructed to hold rallies on Monday, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami called the hartal in a desperate bid to fight the government on the street.

In the capital and its adjoining areas, the incidents took place at Khilkhet, Karwan Bazar, Khilgaon, Shewrapara, Mirpur, near Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, Jatrabari and Savar areas, reports our correspondents covering the hartal.

So far, 238 pro-hartal activists were arrested across the country. In Dhaka, police arrested 69 Jamaat-Shibir activists during the hartal.

The pro-hartal activists also torched a police van in Brahmanbaria and set fire to a bus in Narayanganj.

They also vandalised vehicles in Chittagong, Sylhet, Feni, Dinajpur, Pabna, Chapainawabganj and Bagerhat.

Besides, the incidents of clashes and chase and counter-chase were reported in Sylhet, Narayanganj, Brahmanbaria, Pabna and Bogra.

The Jamaat-Shibir men also blocked highways in different districts including Narayanganj, Pabna and Chapainawabganj.

Pro-hartal activists brought out a sudden procession at Khilkhet area and vandalised several vehicles including one of the US embassy.

The marauding Jamaat-Shibir activists also attempted to set fire to the US embassy vehicle that happened to pass by the procession, said Abu Saleh, sub-inspector of Khilkhet Police Station.

The activists had fled the scene before the police reached the spot, he added.

Polash Chandra Dev, duty officer of Khilgaon Police Station, said glass of windows of two police carrying buses, one police bus and anther public bus were broken at about 8:30am at Khilgaon railway station.

Four police personnel including two officers were injured during the sudden attack on the buses by pickets.

Nearly eight to ten Jamaat-Shibir men suddenly took to the street at Karwan Bazaar in the capital and set fire to tyres around 6:35am. They also vandalised two buses and a CNG-run three-wheeler there.

The pro-hartal activists also damaged several buses near Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the early morning.

In the city’s Pallabi area, at least 12 people were injured in a clash between the activists of Jammat-Shibir and the ruling party.

The clash ensued as the pro-hartal activists vandalised several vehicles, irking the activists of Sramik League, the labourers’ wing of the ruling party, said locals.

All the injured were admitted to Mirpur Adhunik Hospital.

In Shewrapara, a chase and counter-chase took place between the Jamaat-Shibir activists and law enforcers around 6:15am.

The pro-hartal activists also vandalised two vehicles there around 8:00am.

Police in association with local Awami League leaders and activists chased pickets as they damaged a vehicle at Mirpur-10 roundabout around noon, said Abdul Latif Sheikh, officer-in-charge of Pallabi Police Station.

Pro-hartal activists also vandalised windshields of three buses at Khilgaon.

Meanwhile, police detained two persons from Shantinagar area, said Golam Sarwar, officer-in-charge of Paltan Police Station.

Abdul Latif, officer-in-charge of Kafrul Police Station, told The Daily Star that the Jamaat-Shibir activists brought out several rallies through different alleys in the area.

The pro-hartal activists also set fire to several tyres in the area around 6:30am, he said.

But as police chased them, they fled away, the OC added.

Meanwhile, witnesses said the Jamaat-Shibir men hurled brick chips on several vehicles which were plying on Mirpur Road during the early hartal hours.

Locals also heard the sound of cocktail blast in Kalyanpur area in the capital.

Locals caught six people when they were picketing at Sabujbagh area near Khilgaon Flyover in the afternoon and handed them over to police.

The mob also beat up Mostafizur and Md Shohaid mercilessly.

The injured were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 1:30pm.

The pro-hartal activists also vandalised a number of buses in Kalapatti and Kazla areas of Jatrabari around 6:15am and 10:30am. A bus conductor, Anwar Hossain, sustained injuries during the vandalism.

Four to five pro-hartal activists suddenly appeared before Jatrabari crossing and vandalised a bus and a CNG-run three-wheeler there around 8:00am.

Hartal supporters also vandalised at least five vehicles and set fire to several tyres on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in the Jatrabari’s Kutubkhali area around 7:00am and left the place immediately before police rushed there.

The city buses were however seen plying on the streets in thin numbers.

The presence of law enforcing agencies is also mentionable in this hartal.

Huge contingent of law enforcers were seen patrolling at all the key points and intersections in the capital to maintain law and order situation, reports our correspondents.

The shutdown however did not affect movement of trains and launches, and domestic and international flights.

SAVAR

The pro-hartal activists also torched a bus around 6:35am.

GAZIPUR

Hartal supporters vandalised several vehicles and set fire to tyres on Dhaka- Mymensingh highway in Bhogra area near the National University and Tongi in Gazipur Tuesday morning.

Police also detained four pro-hartal activists during the incident.

NARAYANGANJ

The hartal supporters blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Siddhirganj for one hour from 6:30am, setting fire on around 40 tyres.

Transport movement resumed after police and Rab members removed the burning tyres from the highway.

The pro-hartal activists also ransacked at least eight vehicles and set fire to a bus on the highway during a chase and counter-chase with police.

Shibir activists set fire to a bus on Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road. On information, firefighters rushed to the spot and doused the fire.

The activists of Jamaat and Shibir also brought out separate processions at different parts in the city.

CHITTAGONG

Pickets vandalised four vehicles — one bus, two human haulers and a CNG-run auto-rickshaw — in Rajakhali area of the city around 7:45am.

Confirming the vandalism, Nurul Afsar, officer-in-charge of Bakalia Police Station, said three Shibir activists including one Hamid Hossain were picked up in connection with the vandalism.

Besides, the pro-hartal activists badly damaged a bus at Bhatiari near the city gate around 7:00am.

The hartal supporters also set fire to a tyre near Bandar Bhaban around 6:00am.

SYLHET

At least seven Jamaat-Shibir men received minor injuries during a clash with police at Chandipool in Dakshin Surma upazila around 7:00am, said City Jamaat Secretary Fakhrul Islam.

The pickets vandalised at least 10 three-wheelers and a minibus on the spot, witnesses said.

Police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the unruly activists, said Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner AB Barua.

Police seized two motorcycles from the spot.

RAJSHAHI

Pickets tried to block the Dhaka-Rajshahi highway near Binodpur gate of Rajshahi University around 7:30am.

Being resisted by police, they threw brick chips on the law enforcers and also set fire to a tyre and exploded two cocktails.

The hartal supporters left the place when police fired several teargas shells to bring the situation under control.

Police detained two Shibir men from the spot, said Sanaul Haque, officer-in-charge of Motihar Police Station.

BRAHMANBARIA

Jamaat-Shibir activists set fire to a police van at Phulbaria in Town Bypass area at about 8:00am when police tried to resist them from picketing.

Police picked up one from the spot. Two policemen were injured during the incident.

BOGRA

Pro-hartal activists also clashed with police at Fotkir Bridge in Shajahanpur upazila of the district in the morning.

At one stage, police fired shotguns to disperse the pickets and picked-up one from the spot.

Pickets were active at Selimpur near Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital (SZMCH) in the town and Corpara near Mokamtola in Shibganj upazila.

Besides, police arrested nine Jamaat-Shibir men at different parts of the district during the last 24 hours till 10:00am today.

FENI

Shibir men vandalised a covered van at Mohipal and two rickshaws on SSK Road on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in the morning.

The covered van driver, who was injured during the vandalism, were rushed to Feni Sadar Hospital.

Police arrested nine activists of Jamaat and Shibir Monday night and Tuesday morning.

DINAJPUR

Pro-hartal activists ransacked a BRTC bus and a truck in Pirganj upazila and in Dasmile area of Sadar upazila around 11:30am.

Police picked up five Jamaat-Shibir men in Pirganj.

The Jamaat kept Chirirbandar and Khanshama out of the purview of the hartal for the burial of Mojaheed, a Shibir activist who killed in a clash with police in Chirirbandar on Monday night.

PABNA

Jamaat men barricaded Dhaka-Pabna highway in Ishwardi upazila for one hour and Pabna-Kushtia highway for nearly two hours in the same upazila from 7:00am.

They also vandalised a police pick-up van and a human hauler on the highway and hurled brick chips on the law enforcers triggering a sporadic clashes with police.

Later police charged batons to disperse the marauding Jamaat men.

Police also detained 25 Jamaat-Shibir activists at different areas in the district in the morning.

CHAPAINAWABGANJ

Pickets vandalised police van at Shibtola and four trucks at Biswa Road intersection of the town around 8:00am.

Jamaat-Shibir activists also blocked the Chapainawabganj-Rajshahi highway and Chapainawabganj-Sonamasjid land port highway for five hours from 6:30am putting logs and electric pole.

BAGERHAT

The pro-hartal activists vandalised two buses on Bagerhat-Khulna road at Megnistala area of the district.

Police also chased and detained Abdul Kader, a Jamaat activist from the spot.

BACKGROUND

Hours after the announcement of hartal, the main opposition BNP late last night extended moral support to its main ally’s hartal.

The hartal announcement came around 12:10pm through a press release signed by Jamaat’s acting secretary general Shafiqur Rahman. In the statement, all units of Jamaat had been called upon to enforce the strike.

“We are left with no other choice since we were denied permission for today’s [Monday’s] rally,” said Shafiqur Rahman.

Meanwhile, in a pre-hartal showdown, Jamaat men set fire to a vehicle and vandalised four more in the capital’s Jatrabari area. Jamaat activists also clashed with police in Dinajpur. The clash left one Jamaat man dead.

The party was supposed to hold rallies in the capital and in some other districts Monday afternoon to press the government to release the top Jamaat leaders facing trials on charges of crimes against humanity.

Although being a key component of the BNP-led opposition alliance, Jamaat has alone been taking to the streets to press their core demands — cancellation of, what they had termed, “farcical war crimes trial” and release of their party high-ups.

In their statement, Jamaat, however, cited restoration of the caretaker government system, price hike of essentials, deterioration of law and order, misrule of the government and attack on the values of Islam as the issues for the hartal.

Jamaat is also agitating along with the opposition alliance that had already declared a series of agitation programmes for December, including a nationwide road blockade on the 9th.

Source: The Daily Star

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