Tuesday, June 18, 2024

60-hr strike from today

One dead in pre-hartal violence;?blasts at residences of VIPs, TV?stations
Pre-hartal violence, marked by explosion of crude bombs, hurling of bombs at some residences of ministers and important persons, arson and clashes between police and opposition activists at different places in the country, left a Chattra Shibir activist dead and over 30 injured on Saturday. The BNP-led 18-party alliance is set to enforce a 60-hour non-stop countrywide hartal from 6am on Sunday despite the Prime Minister’s request to the opposition leader to withdraw the shutdown.
The strike will end at 6pm on Tuesday. However, the Bangladesh-New Zealand cricket match and hajj pilgrims will remain out of the hartal purview.
On Saturday, miscreants torched seven vehicles at different places in the capital on Saturday, ahead of the BNP-led opposition alliance’s shutdown.
In Rajshahi, a Chhatra Shibir activist was shot dead during a clash with the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in Kajla area near the Rajshahi University (RU) on Saturday afternoon.
The deceased was identified as Rashedul Haque Rantu.
Witnesses said activists of RU unit Shibir were going to Talaimari in the city in a procession to participate in a rally of Matihar thana unit of the 18-party alliance.
Intercepted by Rab near Kajla gate, the Shibir men pelted brick chips on the elite force members, triggering a clash.
At one stage, Rab members opened fire on the Shibir activists, leaving Rantu injured.
Rantu was rushed to Islami Bank Medical College Hospital in the Rajshahi city where he died later.
Ten opposition activists, including Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) councillor Ashraf Hossain Bachchu, were injured in another clash with law enforcers in Talaimari area later in the afternoon.
In the capital, unidentified people hurled crude bombs at residences of some politicians, judges and senior officials and at two media houses creating panic among the city dwellers. No one was hurt in the blasts.
A crude bomb was exploded in front of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakib Uddin Ahmad’s residence in Baridhara area on Saturday evening. When contacted, Mazahar Hossain, personal secretary to the CEC, said the bomb was hurled targeting the CEC’s residence at Block-J in South Baridhara near the American Centre at about 7:15 pm.
Three cocktails were thrown at the Dhanmondi residence of forest and environment minister Dr Hasan Mahmood. Inspector Masud Karim of Dhanmondi police station said police were investigating the incident, but no one was arrested till 10pm.
Earlier in the morning, a bomb was hurled at the residence of Appellate Division judge SK Sinha at Minto Road. Police said the bomb went off near the judge’s residence around 10:30am.
In another incident, senior newsroom editor of Channel Ekattur received serious splinter injuries as a bomb exploded in front of his office at Baridhara at about 6:30pm.
Bombs were also hurled at the residences of several Awami League lawmakers in different parts of the country.
Unidentified miscreants set fire to several vehicles in Shayamoli, Mohammadmpur, Kalabagan, Natun Bazar, Basabo and Gulistan areas of the capital. Three vehicles were also torched at Ashulia on the suburb of the capital while six in Gazipur. A ferry was also set on fire in Khulna.
Police arrested 31 people suspecting their involvement in exploding bombs and torching vehicles from different parts of the capital on Saturday.
A senior official of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police said law enforcers recovered 11 live crude bombs from different areas in the capital hours before the opposition’s strike.
On Friday, opposition leader Khaleda Zia, from a rally of the 18-party alliance, gave the government until Saturday to initiate dialogue over the polls-time non-partisan government, and announced the 60-hour strike if the government does not come up with a positive response. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police has taken all-out measures to ensure security during the opposition strike.
Sources at the DMP headquarters said over 12,000 additional police will remain on alert at different strategic points of the city to fend off any untoward incident.
Besides, plainclothes police will also be on-duty with still and video cameras at a number of strategic points to identify troublemakers during the hartal hours.
Meanwhile, briefing reporters at party’s central office at Naya Paltan around 9pm, BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi has claimed that at least one opposition activist was killed and over 300 were injured in attacks by law enforcing agencies from 12:00pm to 9:00pm on Saturday.
He also claimed that around 220 opposition leaders and activists were arrested and 500 were implicated in false cases during the period. The BNP leader accused the government of using law enforcing agencies as political cadres.

-With The Independent input

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