At least four people suffered burns in petrol bomb attacks on buses and trucks in Kishoreganj and Natore as arsons, vandalism and bomb blasts marked the 20th day of the BNP-led alliance’s countrywide blockade, supplemented by a 36-hour general strike, on Sunday.
A train was derailed in Brahmanbaria as suspected blockaders removed sections of the railway track, snapping Dhaka’s link with Chittagong and Sylhet for eight hours.
Incidents of transport arson and vandalism were reported from Naoganon, Kishoreganj, Natore, Rangpur and Comilla.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia announced the indefinite blockade on January 5 as the government did not allow her party to hold a protest rally in the capital.
The BNP-led alliance called the 36-hour hartal from Sunday protesting at the arrest of its leaders and activists, ‘acts of sabotage plotted by the government ’ and move to increase power tariff.
The blockade and general strike partially affected life in the capital. Traffic was almost as usual with buses, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws plying the streets.
Long-route buses stayed off the roads while trains to and from Chittagong and Sylhet were stuck due to the sabotage in Brahmanbaria.
In the capital, miscreants hurled at least two crude bombs at a bus at Karwar Bazar in the morning leaving its driver Sarbat Ali, 35, injured.
The driver received treatment in Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, said inspector Mozammel Hossain, in-charge of DMCH police camp.
Witnesses said the miscreants had hurled bombs at the Bihanga Paribahan bus around 9:45am.
A bus was torched in the capital’s Mothijheel area in the evening, said Fire Service and Civil Defence.
The bus was parked near Madhumita cinema. None was injured, said fire service control room officer Liaqat Ali.
New Age Brahmanbaria correspondent reported that Dhaka’s rail links with Chittagong and Sylhet had remained snapped for eight hours after six carriages of Joyantika Express, headed for Sylhet, derailed in Pagachong area around 2:10pm.
Sayedur Rahman, assistant director (operation) of Bangladesh Railway, told New Age that saboteurs had removed sections of the track that led to the derailment of the Joyantika Express.
Passengers waited for several hours on Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Chittagong routes as trains were stranded at different stations.
New Age correspondent in Naogaon reported that two buses were set afire by miscreants in Dhaka Bus Stand area of the district town early Sunday, hours before the start of the 36-hour hartal.
Miscreants torched the two buses of TR Travels and Dipjal Enterprise, parked in the bus stand area, in the small hours, said Sadar police officer-in-charge, Zakirul Islam.
No casualties were reported from the arson.
New Age Kishoreganj correspondent reported that two passengers suffered burns in a petrol bomb attack on a bus at Sukhia in Pakundia upazila on Saturday night.
Driver Saiful Islam said blockaders had hurled a petrol bomb at the Kishoreganj-bound bus of ‘Annya Paribahan’ from Dhaka when it was passing the area around 11:00pm, leaving two passengers injured.
Locals put out the flames. The injured — Hanif and Mamun — were taking treatment in the district hospital, said Pakundia police officer-in-charge Zakir Rabbani.
New Age Natore correspondent reported that the driver and a passenger of a truck suffered burns as miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at the vehicle at Gazir Beel in the district town early Sunday.
The injured were Nazrul Islam, driver of the truck, and Shahin, an onion trader.
The driver’s assistant Jahangir said the truck carrying onions was heading for Bogra when it had come under attack at dead of night.
New Age Comilla correspondent reported quoting Chouddgram police officer-in-charge Uttam Kumar that miscreants had set fire to a covered van and six buses in Haiderpul area on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Chouddgram upazila on Sunday morning.
New Age Rangpur correspondent reported that two trucks were burnt near Shajahan Bridge in Pirganj upaizla in the small hours.
Ashiq Islam, driver of one of the trucks, said blockaders had stopped and set fire to the vehicles dragging them out.
Pirgonj police officer-in-charge Ismail Hossain confirmed the incident.
The blockade and general strike were observed peacefully in Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet and Barisal, reported our correspondents.
Source: New Age