Hartal largely peaceful, but disrupts normal life

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The first nine hours of the 36-hour countrywide hartal, enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance on Monday, was marked by stray incidents of violence.

No major incident was, however, reported till filing of the report at 3.00pm.

Educational institutions in the capital mostly remained closed while attendance in government and non-government offices was reported thin.

Slow-moving rickshaws were dominating the city streets as most motorised vehicles stayed off the roads fearing vandalism. No long route bus left Mohakhali Bus Terminal as all counters at the terminal were found closed.

Huge police and Rapid Action Battalion member remained deployed at different parts of the capital to avert any untoward incident. Besides, plainclothes police with cameras were put on alert at a number of strategic points in the city to identify the troublemakers during the hartal hours.

In the capital, police kept the BNP’s central office at Nayapaltan cordoned off since morning.

At about 6:00 am, pro-hartal activists vandalised four-five vehicles at Jatrabari crossing.

One activist of Jamaat-e-Islami suffered bullet wounds when police fired rubber bullets to disperse the procession of Jamaat-Shibir at Barobag in Mirpur at about 6.20am.

Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) activists brought out a procession at Mirpur-1 at about 6.35am when 4-5 crude bombs were exploded. Police then dispersed the procession. Pickets blasted three crude bombs at Mirpur-11 while another was set off in front of Mirpur Girls Ideal College around 6.45am.

Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, brought out a procession from Jigatola in the morning only to be dispersed by police.

At about 7.15 am, JCD and Jubo Dal activists brought out a procession at Pallabi and Benarasi Palli in the capital.

A bus was torched in front of the City Hospital at Mohammadpur around 7.15am. Pickets set a pickup van carrying newspapers ablaze at Sabujbagh at about 7.40am.

Several crude bombs were blasted at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar at about 6.45am, three at Shyamoli at the same time and another in front of Samorita Hospital at Panthapath around 7.45am.

Police arrested two pickets along with three crude bombs in the city’s Tejgaon area at about 7.45am. At least 15 people were arrested from Dhanmondi area between 7.30am and 8:00am.

Around 9:40am, activists of the Dhaka University unit of BNP’s student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal brought out a procession in the city’s Newmarket area and fled the scene seeing the oncoming.

Around 10.30 am, JCD activists brought out a procession near Rapa Plaza of Dhanmondi. A chase and counter-chase occurred when police intercepted the procession. Later, police dispersed the procession.

Pro-hartal activists vandalised a bus at North South Road of Siddik Bazar around 10.45 am.

Earlier on Sunday, on the eve of the shutdown, at least 22 vehicles were torched at different parts of the capital, while police detained 15 pro-hartal activists.

Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a pro-BNP lawyers’ body, brought out a procession in the Dhaka Judge Court premises at 11.30 am led by its secretary general Sanaullah Mia in support of the hartal.

Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported from elsewhere in the country.

In Comilla, pickets torched a covered-van at Chauddagramo on Dhaka-Chittagong highway during the hartal hours. Five people, including a cop, were injured when a chase and counter-chase took place between police and pickets in Laksham.

Police also arrested two persons from Laksham when they tried to vandalize at the Railway Station at 11.30 am.

Police detained three JCD activists from the Comilla city around 11.30 am while those three took part in a procession in support of the hartal.

In Chittagong, a chase and counter-chase took place with police and pickets in the city’s Dewanhat intersection. Pickets vandalised several vehicles in New Marker and Old Station road areas.

In Bagerhat, pickets blocked different roads by placing logs and torching tyres in the morning. Later, police dispersed them.

In Sirajganj, pickets torched two trucks near Nalka Bridge under Solanga thana around 5am. On information, firefighters rushed in and doused the flames around 6am. No casualty was reported in the incident.

In Gazipur, pro-hartal activists vandalised vehicles in front of National University and Open University.

In Bogra, a group of BNP activists, led by its district unit president VP Saiful Islam, brought out a procession and held a rally at Satmatha of the town.

Earlier, hartal supporters vandalized at least 20 vehicles on different roads of the town on Sunday night.

In Laxmipur, hartal supporters brought out a procession in the district town in the morning.  Several crude bombs were also exploded in the town.

In Chuadanga, separate groups of hartal supporters brought out separate possessions in the district town in the morning.

Meanwhile, the hartal was progressing peacefully in Khulna and Rajshahi divisions.

The opposition alliance called the general strike after police raided the BNP headquarters on Monday evening and arrested over 150 leaders and activists of the party, including its acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, vice chairmen Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, opposition chief whip Zainul Abedin Farroque and BNP joint secretaries general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and Amanullah Aman.

The alliance had given the government an ultimatum to release the leaders and activists by Thursday.

Though three of the BNP leaders– Mirza Fakhrul, Khoka and Altaf Hossain — were released the following day, the remaining leaders and workers sent to jail.

Source: UNB Connect


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