The two-day nationwide hartal, enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance, continued amid stray incidents of violence on its first day today (Wednesday).
In capital Dhaka, educational institutions remained closed, but government and non-government offices were open, though the attendance was thin.
Vehicular movement on the streets of the capital was relatively less though some buses of BRTC and other services were plying. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were dominating the city streets as the presence of motorised vehicles was much lesser than usual days. But no coaches left Mohakhali and Gabtoli bus terminals in the morning.
BNP’s Nayapaltan central office was cordoned off by a huge number of policemen. Some party leaders, including BNP chairperson’s adviser Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Dhaka city unit member secretary Abdus Salam and assistant office secretary of BNP Abdul Latif Joni, were there in the office.
Police, Rab and BGB members were patrolling the city streets to maintain law and order. Besides, plainclothes police with still and video cameras have been kept on alert at a number of strategic points in the city to identify troublemakers.
Activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), the associate student body of BNP, brought out a procession at Khilkhet in support of the hartal at about 7:45 am.
JCD activists also brought out a procession from Tejgaon industrial area around 6:00am. The activists from the procession blasted three crude bombs.
At about 6:40am, three crude bombs were exploded in Tejgaon Satrasta area from an unspecified direction. Two crude bombs were exploded and a vehicle was damaged by pickets at Sabujbagh at about 7:00am.
Hartal activists blasted a crude bomb and burnt some tryes on Mirpur Zoo Road around 7:30am. Later, police doused the blaze and dispersed the pickets.
Around 7:20am, a crude bomb was exploded in front of Gabtali Mosque.
JCD activists brought out a procession in support of the hartal in Jagannat University area at about 6:30am and police later dispersed the processionsists. At about 6:10am, police broke up a procession of Shibir activists at Uttar Badda.
Similar incidents are also reported from different districts.
In Satkhira, a group of activists of Jamaat-Shibir torched a Satkhira-bound bus of ‘Eagle Paribahan’ coming from Dhaka on the Satkhira-Jessore Highway in Madabkati Bazar area of Sadar upazila in the morning. They also vandalised two buses in the area at that time. The Jamaat-Shibir men fled the scene after police appeared in the area.
In Jamalpur, police detained 10 local activists of Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal and Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal during picketing in the town in the morning.
A group of activists of Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal and Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal blocked the main road torching tyres at Singhajani School intersection of the town around 7.00am.
Later, Jamalpur Sadar thana police broke their barricade and detained eight activists of Mohila Dal and two of Sramik Dal from the area.
In Brahmanbaria, at least five people, including two policemen, were injured in a clash between police and BNP- Hefajat men.
Witnesses said a group of BNP and Hefajat-e-Islam activsist brought out a procession in Dhaka-Sylhet Highway area at about 09:30am. The clash ensued as police obstructed the procession and charged baton to disperse them. A chase and counter-chase also took place in the area that left three BNP men injured.
The hartal supporters threw brick chips at police that left two cops injured. They also vandalised two CNG-run auto rickshaws and one pickup van.
In Bogra, BNP activists blocked Bagarpara road by burning tyres and vandalized 10-11 vehicles.
In Natore, Jubo Dal and JCD activists blocked Natore-Rajshahi Highway at Borogachha by burning tyres. Jamaat-Shibir activists tried to resort to picketing in Harishpur area, but police foiled their efforts detaining four BNP and two Shibir men.
In Gazipur, BNP activists staged demonstrations with sticks in their hands in the morning at Chandona intersection.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance enforced the countrywide daylong hartal for two consecutive days (Wednesday and Thursday) protesting the killing of unarmed Alems (Islamic scholars) in a crackdown on Hefajat-e-Islami sit-in at Shapla Chattar early Monday.
BNP Standing Committee member Dr Khandker Mosharraf Hossain announced the hartal programme later on Monday night after a meeting of the 18-party alliance held with Khaleda Zia in the chair at her Gulshan office.
Besides, Hefajat-e Islam Bangladesh called a countrywide daylong hatal for Sunday protesting the crackdown on its leaders and activists at Shapla Chattar.
Source: UNB Connect