DHAKA, Mar 5, 2013 (BSS) - The daylong BNP enforced nationwide general strike is underway amid stray incidents of violence, mostly outside Dhaka, when the opposition activists vandalized or torched vehicles obstructed railway movement and clashed with police.
Main opposition BNP has called for the strike protesting,
what it said, 'mass killing' in last few days of violence by
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) after its leader Delwar Hossain Sayadee was
sentenced to death by International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) on the
charges of war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War.
Law enforcement agencies ensured unprecedented security
vigils in the capital to avert destructive acts during today's
hartal, supported by its crucial extreme rightwing ally Jamaat
and other components of 18-party alliance.
State Minister for Home Advocate Shamsul Hoque Tuku earlier
said police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), paramilitary Border
Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Ansar, have been directed to handle
any destructive activities with an iron hand.
"The law enforcing agencies remain vigil apprehending
destructive activities in the capital . . . we are closely
monitoring the troublemakers' movements and stern action will be
taken against them," Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner
Benzir Ahmed told newsmen.
"Around 10,000 members of law enforcement agencies and 10
mobile magistrate teams remained vigil in city's different
strategic points ", he said adding, "Besides, plainclothes police
with still and video cameras were put on alert during the hartal
to identify the troublemakers."
Reports of clashes, arson and vandalizing vehicles,
obstructing train movement, pro and anti-hartal processions,
explosions of crude bombs reached here from different parts of
the capital and outside the capital.
Some destructive activities and clashes were reported from
Chittagong, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Barisal, Chandpur and some
Train service on the Dhaka-Chittagong and Sylhet- Chittagong
route were temporarily snapped early today as Jamaat-Shibir
activists removed fishplate at Bhatiari of Chittagong.
Pickets also tried to set fire on rail line at Narsingdi
disrupting Dhaka-Sylhet rail links for sometime. They also locked
into clashes with police there.
Hartal activists tried to put a barricade on Chandpur-
Comilla and Dhaka-Chandpur highways but situation brought under
control after sometime.
BNP activists torched a local Awami League office at Rajpara
area in Rajshahi.
In Naraynganj, at least 10 people were injured as BNP
activists locked into clashes with police at number 2 gate area
In Barisal, Jamaat supporters locked into clashes with police
as police intervened when the pro-hartal activists were putting
barricade on Dhaka-Barisal Highways and vandalizing vehicles.
Meanwhile, reports of crude bombs explosions reached here
from some city areas including in front of Bangla College of
Tejgaon Link Road, Karwan Bazar, Mohakhali, Bangla Motor, Mughda,
Khilgaon, Golapbagh and Dhaka University TSC (Teachers-Students-
Talking to BSS, assistant commissioner of DMP media wing
Kazi Rabiul Islam said, "Twenty people were arrested in
connection with torching one passenger bus and vandalizing five
motor vehicles and hurling some crude bombs in city's different
Witnesses said, hartal affected little to the normal city
life as with transports, except inter-district and long-route
buses, plying in large number defying hartal. Most of the schools
were shut but offices and businesses were open with satisfactory
"Police detained 12 pickets in connection with vandalizing
one motor vehicle and torching two others," Assistant
Commissioner (Media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Rabiul Islam
"Police cordoned the BNP's Naya Paltan central party office
. . . 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.