Vehicles torched ahead of 3-day hartal

The party announced the shutdown in protest after the courts sent to jail ten top BNP leaders, including its Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed.The party’s Joint Secretary General Salahuddin Ahmed announced the shutdown at the party headquarters at Naya Paltan.
It said vehicles carrying medicine, dead bodies and newspaper and ambulances would remain out of the purview of shutdown.
Earlier, three Dhaka courts refused bail to top BNP leaders including its acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul and Moudud Ahmed in several cases and ordered them into jail after they had turned themselves in.
Two of the three cases were filed at Paltan Police Station and the other with Shahjahanpur police over clashes, vandalism and torching of vehicles on Mar 2.
The other leaders who landed in jail include Goyeshar Chandra Roy, Abdullah Al Noman, Amanullah Aman, Shahid Uddin Choudhury Annee and Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal President Moazzem Hossain Alal.
On Saturday, Hifazat-e Islam called a nationwide shutdown for Monday, BNP, however, has not lent support to that.
Ahmed said, “Our backs are against the wall. All of the top party leaders except myself are already behind bars.”
Among the Joint Secretaries General, only Ahmed and Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon are yet to be arrested.
“The government is trying to purge politics of opposition in this way.”
Over enforcing shutdowns amid the ongoing Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, he said,” We have called the 36-hour shutdown only after being left without no other option.”
Meanwhile, several vehicles were torched at different places in the capital as soon as the shutdown was called on Sunday. Police have blamed shutdown supporters for these incidents.
The BNP-led 18-Party alliance enforced shutdowns on Mar 12, 18, 27 and 28 demanding release of their leaders detained in Mar 11 police raid on their party headquarters. The eight leaders have been sent to jail before release of those leaders.
The demands for which the shutdowns are being called include withdrawal of ‘false’ cases against their party leaders and activists, an end to ‘genocide’, staging the next general strike under a non-partisan caretaker government and resignation of the Awami League-led government.
BNP leaders said Chairperson Khaleda Zia decided to enforce the shutdown on Monday during a meeting with Standing Committee members on Saturday night.
They said they were waiting for the court decision.
The BNP has been accusing the government of influencing the courts.
BNP Joint Secretary General Salahuddin Ahmed announced the shutdown at the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters.
Minutes later, two vehicles were set ablaze within a kilometre of the BNP headquarters at 5pm.
Fire Service control room official Nilufar Yeasmin told they got information that a bus and another vehicle were set on fire at around the same time at Kakrail and Razarbagh respectively.
Ramna Police Station Inspector (Patrol) Mohammad Shahid said some youths torched the Rangdhanu Paribahan bus at Kakrail and fled the scene within minutes.
The Fire Service official said two more vehicles we re also set ablaze after a while in front of Bangladesh Bank at Motijheel and Buddha Mandir at Basabo.
Unidentified youths tried to set ablaze a CNG-run auto-rickshaw in front of the Fakirerpul Mosque at around 5pm. But the fire was doused immediately, witnesses said.
Rampura police Officer-in-Charge Delwar Hossain told that a car was set ablaze at around 7pm in front of the Molla Tower at Rampura.
Four handmade crude bombs were also detonated at the same time in front of the Bangladesh Medical Association office at Topkhana Road, Ramna police Assistant Commissioner (Patrol) Mohammad Imanul said.
No casualties were reported, he added.
Hifazat-e Islam, a coalition of Iskamist organisations, has also called a nationwide daylong shutdown for Monday.

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