Thursday, June 13, 2024

One killed, 100 hurt on 1st day of hartal

7 burnt in petrol bomb blasts, 4 held with 150 crude bombs in capital
At least one person was killed and over 100 others injured in stray violence during the first day of the nationwide 84-hour hartal, enforced by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 18-party alliance, on Sunday. As many as 50 vehicles were also vandalised and several hundred cocktails basted on Sunday when police detained more than 50 hartal supporters, mainly Jamaat-Shibir activists, from different places in the country.
Rail communication between Dhaka and northern districts remained suspended for over five hours as hartal supporters uprooted rail tracks in Natore.
The opposition alliance is enforcing the 84-hour non-stop hartal to press home its demand for elections under a non-party caretaker government and to protest against the arrest of its top leaders. The shutdown will end at 6pm on Wednesday.
Earlier, the 18-party alliance enforced two spells of 60-hour countrywide lockdowns: October 27 to October 29 and November 4 to November 6. These strikes were enforced to push for the restoration of the caretaker government system, leaving 20 people killed and over 8,000 injured.
On Sunday, one Nirmal Das was killed at Katakhali in Hathazari upazila of Chittagong when an auto-rickshaw overturned after it was chased by hartal supporters in the morning.
Forty-two-year-old Nirmal of Maddham Madarsah area was an employee of the University of Science and Technology (USTC). Witnesses said the auto-rickshaw overturned when its driver tried to hurriedly flee the area.
Rail communication between Dhaka and the northern districts remained suspended for over five hours in the morning as hartal supporters uprooted rail tracks at Sreerampur in Lalpur upazila in Natore. Railway sources said miscreants uprooted rail tracks at Sreerampur sometime at night. Train communication on the route resumed around 10:30am when the railway employees repaired the railways.
The authorities suspended plying of DEMU trains on Parbatipur-Thakurgaon and Parbatipur-Lalmonirhat routes, apprehending vandalism. Train services will remain suspended until Wednesday to preclude any untoward incident.
Sporadic incidents of violence marked the hartal in the capital.
At least seven persons were injured when some people hurled petrol bombs at a human hauler with passengers at the Laxmi Bazar area in the Old Dhaka at 9:20pm.
The injured were immediately admitted to the burn unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Of the wounded, three were seriously injured.
Meanwhile, joint convener of Dhaka city Shewachchsebak Dal leader Rafiq Howlader was detained by the law enforcers from Shantinagar area at around 9:30 pm.
Police detained four youths with 150 crude bombs from the Kanthalbagan area at around 10:15pm.
A Shibir activist sustained bullet injuries at the city’s Fakirerpool area in the evening when the Shibir activists brought out a procession and engaged in a clash with the police. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the procession, leaving one Shibir activist injured. Police detained three Shibir activists including the injured one from the spot.
Hartal supporters torched a bus in front of the Swandip market at Ashulia industrial area at around 6pm, leaving five passengers injured.
Pickets blasted five crude bombs targeting police who were on patrol duty at the Nabisco intersection at Mahakhali area at about 7pm. However, none was injured.
Some people set fire to a bus in front of the Dominus Pizza of Dhanmondi at around 8pm.
At least 20 crude bombs were blasted at the Karwan Bazar intersection at around 6pm near the police vehicles.
Three crude bombs were also blasted at the Paltan intersection.
Pickets blasted four crude bombs at the Mirpur intersection at around 7pm. some unidentified people blasted five crude bombs at the Sankar bus stands in Dhanmondi at around 9pm, creating panic among the people.
Earlier in the day, at least five activists of Chhatra Shibir, the students’ wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, were bullet-hit in clashes with the police in the city’s Badda and Mohakhali areas. Witnesses said the Shibir activists brought out a brisk procession and hurled crude bombs at the police around 7:30 am. In retaliation, the police fired rubber bullets on the picketers to disperse them leaving five Shibir men injured.
Picketers torched a bus at Mirpur around 6 am. However, fire-fighters doused the flames within a short time.
Hartal supporters also vandalised a CNG-run auto rickshaw in Merul Badda around 6 am. Police detained five picketers from the spot.
Some Shibir activists brought out a procession and blasted crude bombs in Badda Progati Sarani area in the morning.
Besides, more than a dozen crude bombs were blasted at Mohakhali wireless gate, Demra, Malibagh crossing, Lalbagh, Mirpur, Tejkunipara, Mugda, Rampura, Badda and Shahjahanpur during the hartal.
Shibir activists hurled crude bombs, targeting two members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) who were riding on a motorcycle at the Glass Factory intersection in Mohammadpur area in the morning. However, no one was injured.
Anisur Rahman Babu, a cameraperson of the private satellite TV channel 24, was injured when picketers hurled crude bombs near Bangla College at Mirpur-1 around 8 am.
Miscreants also hurled four crude bombs in front of Desh TV office at 1:30 pm.
Picketers set ablaze a local Awami League (AL) office at Matuail in the city’s Demra area in early morning during the hartal.
Witnesses said hartal supporters brought out a procession at the Matuail area and some youths set the local AL office on fire. Some of the furniture of the office was gutted before police rushed to the spot and doused the flames, witnesses said.
Picketers brought out a brisk procession and blasted several crude bombs and set fire to the road by pouring petrol on it at Paridas Road in Banglabazar area. Local Lalbagh Chhatra Shibir unit brought out a procession and blasted crude bombs, sparking panic in the area.
Picketers blasted a crude bomb at Natun Bazar Road in Kalyanpur and set fire to the road by pouring petrol on it around 6 am, injuring a man.
Some miscreants blasted a crude bomb in front of Hotel Midway near the BNP central office in Paltan at noon, injuring a pedestrian.
Hartal supporters blasted crude bombs at the gates of the New Market and Pallabi police stations at noon. Sources said two crude bombs were blasted at the gate of New Market police station and three crude bombs at the gate of Pallabi police station, causing panic among the people.
On the eve of the shutdown, at least 10 vehicles were torched at different parts of the capital on Saturday.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has taken all-out measures to ensure security during the hartal.
DMP sources said over 10,000 to 12,000 additional police personnel remain on alert at different strategic points of the city to avert any untoward incident. Besides, the government deployed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel in the capital to prevent any subversive activists during the hartal. Plainclothes policemen also remained alert with still and video cameras at a number of strategic city points to identify the troublemakers during the hartal hours.
Educational institutions and shopping malls remained closed, but government and non-government offices in the capital were open, albeit with lower attendance.
No long-route bus left the bus terminals. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws dominated the city streets during hartal hours as few motorised vehicles were available for city commuters.
The ruling Awami League and its front organisations brought out anti-hartal processions in different parts of the capital, urging people to boycott the hartal.
Bangabandhu Sangkritik Jote organised a human chain protesting the hartal in front of the National Press Club in the city.
Stray incidents also marked the shutdown in different districts across the country.
In Laxmipur, picketers blasted at least 20 crude bombs while in Feni, at least 10 people were injured when several crude bombs were blasted at a procession of the local Chhatra Dal unit.
In Gazipur, picketers vandalised several auto-rickshaws leaving two women injured. Police detained three people from the spot.
In Brahmanbaria, at least 50 people were injured in a fierce clash between hartal supporters and law enforcement personnel at the Shimrailkandi area in the morning.
In Chittagong, at least 50 people were injured in clashes between hartal supporters, Chhatra League and police at the AK Khan Gate, Colonel Hat, Alangker Intersection and Sagorika area in the morning.
In Rajshahi, picketers vandalised a covered van in Katakhali Deopara area of the city in the morning. The police detained a total of 13 BNP and Jamaat supporters from Motihar and Boalia area of the city during the hartal hours.
In Jhalakathi, police detained five leaders and activists from different parts of the Sadar area on suspicion of causing subversive activities.
In Chandpur, police picked up seven Jamaat-BNP leaders from Tamta union during picketing at noon.
In Comilla, at least 10 people were injured in a fierce clash between Jamaat-Shibir activists and the police at Choudogram during the hartal in the morning.
Violent incidents were also reported in Munshiganj, Bhola, Pabna, Joypurhat, Narayanganj, Brahmanbaria and Sherpur districts, and law enforcement personnel detained at least 30 people, during picketing or on suspicion of causing subversive activities.

-With The Independent input

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