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BNP's hartal underway amid stray incidents

DHAKA, Mar 5, 2013 (BSS) -The dawn-to-dusk nationwide hartal enforced by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, BNP protesting what it said " mass killing by the government, corruption and misrule" is underway amid some stray incidents.

Law enforcement agencies maintained strict security vigil to avert any sorts of destructive activities during today's hartal after the 48-hour strike of the Jamaat-e-Islami that ended on Monday.

Earlier, State Minister for Home Advocate Shamsul Hoque Tuku said police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Ansar have been directed to handle any destructive activities with an iron hand.

"Around 10,000 members of law enforcement agencies and 10 mobile magistrate teams remained vigil in the city", a police official of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told BSS.

"Besides, plainclothes police with video cameras will be put on alert at some strategic points in the city during the hartal to identify the troublemakers," he added.

Police and witnesses said pickets set fire on two passenger buses earlier in front of Bangla College and Karwan Bazar area in the capital leaving two passengers injured.

Hartal supporters also hurled at least five crude bombs at Tejgaon area while police recovered two others from the area, witnesses said.

"Police cordoned the BNP's Naya Paltan central party office off . . . we are not allowed to move outside the party office," BNP joint-secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged this morning refuting the allegation that 'BNP men unleashed terror' in different areas in the capital and outside the Dhaka ahead of the hartal and during the hartal.

Flanked by some party leaders and activists inside the party office, he accused of the government using police and RAB forces against the opposition leaders and activists across the country.

Some reports of destructive activities and clashes reached here from Chittagong, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Barisal, Chandpur and some other areas.

Hartal activists tried to put a barricade on Chandpur- Comilla and Dhaka-Chandpur highways.

BNP activists torched a local Awami League office at Rajpara area in Rajshahi city.

In Narayganj, 10 people were injured as BNP activists locked into clashes with police.

Witnesses said most of the schools were shut but life was normal in the capital with transports plying in large number while offices and businesses were open defying the stoppage call.