Opposition’s hartal ends: Two dead

The 36-hour hartal, enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance, ended amid stray incidents of violence that left a BCL man dead in Tangail on Tuesday.

According to reports reaching the UNB news desk, Imran Sarker, 20, joint secretary of Gopalpur upazila unit of BCL, the student wing of the ruling Awami League, was killed in an attack by hartal supporters at the upazila headquarters of Tangail in the morning.

Police said a group of BCL and Awami League activists brought out an anti-hartal procession in the area around 8 am. At that time, activists of BNP and its student front Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) jointly attacked the procession, leaving three ruling party workers, including Imran, injured.

Imran succumbed to his injuries while being moved to Tangail General Hospital.

Later, in a crackdown on the opposition activists, police arrested two JCD workers in connection with the attack.

Besides, 102 people were injured in clashes and 70 pro-hartal activists  arrested in Sunamganj, Rajbari, Rangamati, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Sirajganj and Luxmipur districts during the hartal today.

Addressing a post-hartal press briefing, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir claimed that police arrested over 400 opposition activists across the country during the hartal hours on Tuesday, while more than 300 were injured in attacks by law enforcers and ‘ruling party cadres’. ”Besides, some 4,500 BNP men were implicated in ‘false’ cases.”

In capital Dhaka, the shutdown on the second day was marked by vandalising of vehicles, arrests, cocktail explosions and arson attacks.

Police arrested five activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir from Indira Road, Green Road and Motijheel Eden Complex areas. Police recovered a cocktail from near the US Embassy at Baridhara and another from Proshika Crossing in Mirpur.

Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, brought out a procession at Indira Road around 7.30 am and vandalised two to three buses. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the gathering and detained a Shibir man.

The hartal activists vandalised three to four vehicles at Gabtoli at about 6.20 am. Around 8.45 am, pro-hartal supporters set afire a pickup-van at Shewrapara of Mirpur.

At least 36 cocktails were exploded in Mirpur Stadium, Rayerbagh of Jatrabari, Kalabagan, Motijheel, Shahjahannpur, Shyamoli, Dhaka University area and Farmgate areas.

Two mobile courts sentenced three pro-hartal activists to different jail terms for picketing during the hartal hours. Two pickets — Monu Miah and Mosharref Hossain — were sentenced to one year jail while Billal Hossain to three months’ imprisonment.

The pro-hartal activists blasted a crude bomb near Ananda Cinema Hall of Farmgate at about 12.30 pm. They exploded six crude bombs on the Dhaka University campus; two at Mall Chatter around 12 noon while four at Raju Sculpture around 11 am.

Activists of Jubo League, the youth wing of the ruling Awami League, brought out a procession following a rally in the capital’s Mohakhali area at noon protesting the shutdown.

Also at Farmgate, Tejgaon and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar thana unit of Jubo League held a rally and brought out a procession in protest against the countrywide hartal.

Around 12:45 pm, Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip), a professional body of the Awami League backed physicians, took out another anti-hartal procession at Shahbagh. At about 1 pm, ruling party activists in a procession marched through Chankharpool, Anandabazar, Bangabazar and Gulistan chanting slogans against hartal and BNP chief Khaleda Zia.

No long route bus left or entered the city’s Mohakhali Bus Terminal. All ticket counters at the terminals were found closed as there was no passenger there.

Educational institutions remained closed, but government and non-government offices were open, though the attendance was thin. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws dominated the city streets as the presence of motorised vehicles was less. Train services were, however, normal.

Huge law enforcers were seen guarding the city streets to maintain the law and order.

UNB Moulvibazar correspondent reports: The engine and six coaches of an Express train derailed near Kulaura Railway Station early Tuesday, leaving 12 passengers injured.

The rail link between Sylhet and Dhaka, and Sylhet and Chittagong remained snapped for 12 hours following the incident caused by the removal of fish plates of rail tracks.

In Chittagong, hartal supporters attacked a police van by hurling brick chips at Chandraghona in Rangunia at about 6am, leaving sub-inspector Joybrata Chakma and driver of the bus injured. Later, police in a raid arrested nine suspects in connection with the incident, OC of Rangunia thana MM Murshed told UNB.

Anti-hartal activists dispersed BNP workers at Salimpur in Sitakund by chasing them at about 10am. Later, they, in association with Jamaat, men locked into a clash with ruling party men.

On information, police rushed in, fired blank shots and lobbed teargas canisters to disperse them, leaving eight injured. Later, ruling party men vandalised the BNP office in Faujdarhat area.

In Karnaphuli area, anti-hartal supporters attacked a rally of BNP (South) at Aktaruzzaman Square on the south bank of the bridge that triggered chase and counter-chase among them at 12 noon. BNP claimed that their 15 activists were injured in the attack. In another incident, police arrested six pickets from Dewanbazar while they were trying to vandalise vehicles.

In Rajshahi, about 35 people were injured and 40 others arrested in the city.

In Sirajganj, at least 42 people, including two policemen, were injured in separate clashes between BNP-Jamaat-Shibir activists and police in Fakirtala Bazar and Bahuli Bazar in Sadar upazila during hartal hours. Police lobbed teargas canisters and fired rubber bullets to bring the situation under control. The hartal supporters set fire to a motorcycle and damaged three rickshaw vans during the hartal hours.

In Natore, pickets halted vehicular movement on Rajshahi-Dhaka bypass near Bonbellgharia Mohila College by burning tyres and putting bricks on it.

In Satkhira, pro-hartal supporters vandalised a shop owned by a Hindu man at the district’s Government College intersection at 11.30 am.

In Luxmipur, leaders and activists of BNP-Jamaat blocked the Luxmipur-Dhaka Highway by putting logs at Dalal Bazar and Mandari in the district. Police detained six Jamaat-Shibir men from Joypurhat district.

UNB Khulna correspondent reports: The hatral in the district passed off amid stray incidents of violence.

The opposition alliance called the general strike after police raided the BNP central office on March 11 and arrested over 150 leaders and activists of the party, including its acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and vice chairmen Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, opposition chief whip Zainul Abedin Farroque and BNP joint secretaries general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and Amanullah Aman.

The alliance had given the government an ultimatum to release the leaders and activists by Thursday (March 14).

Though three of the BNP leaders — Mirza Fakhrul, Khoka and Altaf Hossain — were released on March 12, the remaining leaders and workers sent to jail.

The 36-hour countrywide hartal, called by opposition BNP led 18-party alliance demanding release of party leaders, passed off Tuesday amid sporadic incidents.

At least 188 people were injured in Dhaka, Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Jhenidah, Jamalpur, Chandpur, Narayanganj, Bhola, Rangpur, Mymensingh and Chittagong districts during hartal.

Meanwhile, some 283 people were held in Dhaka, Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Narayanganj, Kishoreganj, Khulna, Gazipur, Chittagong, Chuadanga, Thakurgaon, Noakhali, Faridpur, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Sherpur districts during hartal hours.

Besides, some 179 cocktails and hand bombs were exploded in different parts of the country, including city’s Dhaka University campus, Mirpur, Jatrabari, Mirpur, Jatrabari, Satrasta, Shanir Akhra, Shaheenbag, Babubazar and Brahmanbaria areas.

On the other hand, hartal supporters vandalized and torched some 89 vehicles in Dhaka, Bhola, Mymensingh and Noakhali districts.

Opposition BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon,  demanded immediate release of party’s detained leaders and activists.

He also said the ongoing movement demanding restoration of caretaker government would be intensified until the demand is met.

Leave a Reply