Friday, June 14, 2024

5 killed on first day of hartal

At least five people were killed, and over 200 injured, in fierce clashes between political activists and law enforcers across the country on the first day of the opposition’s 60-hour countrywide hartal, on Sunday.
One Swechhasebak Dal leader, a Jubo League man, one Awami League activist, a Jamaat activist, and a Jubo Dal leader were killed in violence in Faridpur, Jessore, Pirojpur, Pabna and Bogra districts, respectively.
The hartal also marked sporadic incidents of clash, vandalism, arson and explosion of crude bombs creating panic among people.
The BNP-led 18-Party Alliance enforced the 60-hour non-stop nationwide strike, from 6 am on Sunday, despite a request by the prime minister to withdraw the shutdown.
Earlier on Friday, giving the government until Saturday to initiate dialogue over forming a poll-time non-party administration, opposition leader Khaleda Zia, from a rally of the 18-Party Alliance, announced that her alliance would go ahead with the hartal, if the government did not come up with a positive response.
Our correspondent from Jessore said that Alamgir Hossain Shimul, 34, general secretary of Jubo League’s Nawapara municipality unit, died in a clash between hartal supporters and Jubo League men in Nawapara industrial town at around 8:30am on Sunday.
He was beaten to death inside the abandoned Nawapara Highway Police Camp, said eyewitnesses and the police.
Kazi Abdus Saleque, officer in-charge, Abhaynagar police station, confirming the information, said that Jubo League leader Alamgir Hossain Shimul was beaten to death.
Eyewitnesses said that the clash erupted, as a group of Jubo League cadres, equipped with locally made arms tried to attack a procession of hartal supporters at around 8:30 am, in front of Nawapara Highway Police Camp. Shimul and his men took shelter in the police camp, as the strikers chased them. However, over a hundred strikers attacked the police camp and beat Shimul to death.
At least three others were seriously wounded in the attack. The unruly mob also set ablaze the micro-bus owned by Shimul.
Meanwhile, a Swechhasebak Dal leader was killed and 11 others were injured, three with bullet wound, in a clash between police and hartal supporters in Nagarkanda upazila headquarters of Faridpur district, in the morning.
The deceased was identified as Maruf Sheikh, 20, president of Swechhchhasebak Dal Nagarkanda Pourasabha ward-2 unit.
Police and witnesses said the clash occurred at around 8 am as police obstructed some hartal supporters while they were trying to put barricades on a road, leaving Maruf dead on the spot.
In Pabna, an activist of Jamaat-e-Islami was killed and five people were injured in an attack allegedly by some Awami League activists in Sheikhpara area on Natore-Pabna highway in Ishwardi upazila. The deceased was identified as Julhasuddin Munnaf, 35.
Bimal Kumar Das, officer-in-charge (OC) of Ishwardi Police Station, said when a procession of BNP-led 18-Party Alliance was passing by the area, some ruling party men swooped on them.
The Awami League activists fired at least 25 rounds of bullet and exploded several crude bombs, targeting the procession at around 11am, leaving Julhas dead on the spot and injuring five others.
Among the injured, two Jamaat activists?Sheikh Fariduddin, 25, and Mohammad Islam? have been admitted to Rajshahi Medical College hospital.
Enraged by the attack, opposition activists vandalised and torched the house of an Awami League supporter, in the area. Meanwhile, another group of hartal supporters were attacked by AL activists, on the same highway at around 11:30 am that left 15 people injured.
Among the injured, Jubo Dal activist Masum was admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.
In Pirojpur, an Awami League activist was killed and two Jubo League men were injured, in an attack, allegedly, by opposition activists, at Balipara bazar in Zianagar upazila.
The deceased was identified as Swapan Shil, 38, son of Sukumar Shil of Mothbaria upazila and owner of a saloon in Baliapara Bazar.
Family sources said some 18-Party activists swooped on Jubo League men?Bappi, 23 and Salam Bagha?and Awami League activist Swapan Shil, from a procession at Balipara Bazar in the morning.
They beat up the trio mercilessly and cut tendons of the legs of Bappi and Swapan. Swapan, who was critically injured, was rushed to Khulna Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries around 12 noon.
Officer-in-charge of Zianagar Police Station, Nasiruddin Mallik, confirmed the incident.
A Jubo Dal leader, identified as Sajahan Ali, 42, was shot dead, and over 10 persons were injured, in a clash between two rival groups of BNP activists in the upazila sadar area of Gabtoli in Bogra district at noon, during the strike.
Witnesses said BNP and Jubo Dal activists got engaged in a clash over trifle issues at College Square area of Gabtoli upazila sadar at around 1 pm, while they were picketing during hartal.
In the capital, four BRTC buses were set ablaze by some unknown miscreants at BRTC bus depot in the city’s Gabtoli area at around 4:30 am. Besides, unidentified miscreants exploded two crude bombs in Dhanmondi area early in the morning.
Picketers set fire to a bus at Kajla in Jatrabari at around 8:20 am. Besides, the 48-ward Awami League office at Bibir Bagicha in Jatrabari caught fire after opposition activists hurled two petrol bombs at the office.
Police recovered a large quantity of gunpowder and hand-made bombs from Dhaka University staff quarters, at Azimpur area in the city.
In the meantime, three crude bombs were exploded by some Jubo Dal activists from a procession near Pallima Sangsad in Khilgaon area at around 8 am, while four crude bombs were thrown from a procession of Jaitiyatabadi Chhatra Dal at about 6:10 am near Nabisco Crossing. Police detained one picketer from the spot.
Unidentified miscreants exploded three crude bombs in front of F Rahman Hall of Dhaka University, at around 11:20 am.
Jamaat-Shibir activists brought out a procession in Jatrbari area in the morning, which was later dispersed by police.
Picketers set off one crude bomb at Azimpur at around 6:55 am while three more crude bombs were blasted by Jamaat-Shibir men at Mirpur-2 at the same time. Police detained eight people from the area.
Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession at Ring Road in Shyamoli area around 6:30 am, when they exploded five crude bombs. Police later dispersed the procession. Besides, Chhatra Dal activists blasted four crude bombs at Natun Bazar in Badda, at around 6:55 am.
Miscreants exploded two homemade crude bombs in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the city, at about 4:15 pm.
In Moghbazar, several crude bombs were blasted from a procession of Jamaat-Shibir at Wireless Gate at around 8:10 am. Two people were detained in this connection.
Besides, hartal supporters hurled a crude bomb at police, near the gate of Bashundhara residential area in the morning. However, no one was hurt in the blasts.
Most of the city shops, adjacent to the main thoroughfares, kept their shutters down. No inter-district buses left the terminals, nor did any bus arrive there.
Police and members of other law enforcement agencies, including Rapid Action Battalion, Border Guard Bangladesh, and plain-clothes police men were on high alert to avert any untoward situation. Additional law enforcers were deployed at different strategic points and were seen patrolling the city streets, and searching those who they suspected of engaging in vandalism.
In the capital, fewer public transport, including buses, were seen plying, but rickshaws and CNG-run auto rickshaws were out in large numbers. Financial transactions and other official work were low, as city residents kept indoors.
Awami League and its front organisations brought out anti-hartal procession in different parts of the city. While Bangladesh Chhatra Sangram Parishad, an alliance of
progressive students, brought out a procession on the Dhaka University campus protesting hartal.
Describing Jamaat-Shibir as militant outfits, President of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), SM Bodiuzzaman Shohag, said opposition leader Khaleda Zia again proved that she patronises militancy as she demanded the release of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir president, Delwar Hossain. Two crude bombs were set off in front of the Election Commission office, at around 1pm on Sunday, witnesses said. However, none has been injured in the blast. Police have beefed up security in the area, following the blast.
Meanwhile, a 17-year-old boy, Sumon, who is from Jhalakathi and had come to the capital for picketing, encountered serious injury when he tried to hurl a crude bomb at the residence of the Chief Justice, in Kakrail area at noon.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police sources said that the law enforcers detained 41 picketers, while vandalising five and torching eight vehicles. Of the detained, 11 have been sentenced to jail for six months each.
Sporadic incidents also marked the 60-hour hartal in different districts across the country.
In Sirajganj, at least 20 persons, including five cops, were injured in sporadic clashes in the district. The injured were admitted to Sirajganj General Hospital, and other local clinics.
Police and local sources said that leaders and activists of BNP and Jamaat-Shibir had started taking position from Kashem More to Nalka Bridge area on the Dhaka-Uttaranchal highway, since morning.
They erected roadblocks on the highway with logs and set tyres on fire. When police asked them not to carry out such activities, they attacked the police, leading to a fierce clash, that continued for about an hour.
In Gazipur, hartal supporters torched a truck at Pubail at around 6:30 am. Besides, opposition activists brought out a procession and exploded several crude bombs at Tongi in the morning.
In Savar, miscreants torched a bus at Polashbari and vandalised several buses at Narsinghapur, Bishmile, Raj Fulbaria bus stand, and Aminbazar in the morning.
In Natore, the hartal supporters torched a truck at Ahmedpur area in Boraigram upazila and vandalised five more trucks in Jail Gate area of the town, in the morning.
Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported from Bogra, Pirojpur, Satkhira and Laxmipur districts, which left at least 20 people injured.
In Joypurhat, at least 30 people were injured as picketers vandalised an inter-city train and set fire to one of its coaches at Joypurhat rail station on Sunday morning.
Witnesses said some picketers swooped in on the Khulna-bound inter-city ‘Rupsha Express’ train, at the station at around 10:05 am. They ransacked several compartments and set fire to one, leaving 30 passengers injured. However, local people doused the flame immediately.

-With The Independent input

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