Rly sabotage marks blockade
250 injured as train derails in Comilla after fishplates removedStaff Correspondent
Buses were burnt and railway lines sabotaged as clashes between demonstrators and the police were reported from different places across the country on Sunday, the second day of the fresh spell of rail-road-waterway blockade enforced by the opposition parties.
The blockade virtually snapped communications between the capital and the rest of the country badly affecting life and taking a heavy toll on economy.
Railway remained a prime target of the blockaders as they torched carriages,
removed fishplates and rail tracks at places causing derailment of several trains that left at least two dozens injured.
At least 250 people were injured as an inter-city train on Dhaka-Chittagong route derailed in Burichang upazila of Comilla on Sunday night after miscreants removed fishplates from tracks in a spectacular act of railway sabotage.
Hamidul Haque, acting station master of Comilla Railway Station, told New Age that the locomotive and four carriages of the Dhaka-bound Mahanagar Godhuli Express had derailed between Rajapur and Shasidal railway stations around 7:45pm.
The sabotage forced suspension of train services on Chittagong-Dhaka and Chittagong-Sylhet routes, he said.
Miscreants set fire to the Natore district election office around midnight Saturday.
Five people were killed on the first day of the fresh 72-hour blockade on Saturday while widespread violence during the first spell of blockade had claimed 19 lives, many of them victims of transport arson.
The death toll could continue to rise, as doctors feared that some of the victims with severe burns could succumb to their wounds. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance began enforcing the 72-hour blockade on Saturday in protest against the government’s move to hold ‘unilateral’ polls before reaching an understanding over an election-time administration.
Blockaders torched a bus carrying garment workers by spreading gun powder in front of Shiddhirganj power station at 7:00am on Sunday.
Police quoting the passengers said that at least 20 youths attacked the bus and set it on fire by spreading gun powder. Five of the workers suffered burns while others managed to get off the bus unhurt.
Another bus was torched at Hajiganj in Fatulla around 7.30am but none was injured. Chhatra Dal activists brought out processions in the town and blasted crude bombs.
Three passengers of a three-wheeler suffered appalling burns after blockaders hurled petrol bombs at the vehicle at Lebukhali ferry point in Patuakhali. One of the victims, Abdus Sattar, a retired madrassah teacher has been shifted Dhaka with 40 per cent of his body burnt.
The other victims – Mujibur Rahman, 44, a teacher of Pagasia Alia Madrasa and Ataur Rahman, 40, land office staff at Dumki, have been admitted to Patuakhali General Hospital.
Opposition activists continued to occupy the entrance to the Chittagong city at Colonel Haat and blockade railway at AK Khan crossing and in City Gate area halting train service between the port city and the rest of the country. The opposition activists went out on demonstration at Bahaddarhat, Bakalia, Dewanhat, Alankar crossing, Khulshi and Halishahar. Police fired rubber bullets at several places to disperse the protesters while pickets blasted crude bombs across the city.
At least 30 people were injured as blockaders clashed with the police at Kaliakair in Gazipur after police obstructed a procession at Sahebbazar in Kaliakair bypass area.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the stone-throwing pickets. At least 30 activists, including BNP’s district unit secretary Kazi Saidul Alam Babul, sustained injuries in the clashes. The upazila unit of BNP has called a daylong strike in Kaliakair for Monday in protest at the police action.
Activists of Swechchhasebak Dal brought out processions and blasted crude bombs at Joydevpur bazaar and at Tongi. They put blockade on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway and damaged a number of vehicles.
Assistant sub-inspector Hamid of Konabari police outpost said pickets had started fire on the highway halting traffic for an hour.
Activists of the BNP-led alliance set fire to the district unit office of Jatiya Party in Kurigram and manhandled former minister Tajul Islam Chowdhury. The opposition marches attacked the Jatiya Party office at Sabuj Para in the town.
They pounced on Tajul Islam Chowdhury, also a Jatiya Party candidate for the next polls, at Kalibari crossing and vandalised his motorcycle.
The blockaders set fire to two carriages of Rajshahi-bound Uttara Express at Naldanga station in Natore around 10:00am leaving several passengers injured.
At least 12 people were injured when four carriages and the locomotive of Dhaka-bound Dhumketu Express derailed around 2:00am after blockaders removed fishplates from rail tracks at Sholua near Sharda station in Charghat of Rajshahi. The injured were taken to the local clinics.
Kamalapur railway station master Dipendra Saha said service of Dhumketu Express and Padma Express between Dhaka and Rajshahi had been cancelled for Sunday. Dhaka-bound Mahanagar Godhuli Express from Chittagong derailed
at Pachora in Brahmanpara upazila of Comilla around 8:00pm after blockaders removed rail tracks.
Trains from Bangabandhu Bridge’s east part and Akhaura arrived in Dhaka four hours late while trains from Sylhet, Khulna and Chittagong were late by three hours, he said.
Tarakandi-bound Agnibina Express and Chittagong-bound Turna Nishitha left Dhaka four hours behind the schedule and Chittagong-bound Meghna Express stopped at Nauri in Shahrasti upazila due to railway sabotage, he said.
The correspondent in Natore said miscreants had set fire to the Natore district election office around midnight Saturday.
Police fired five rounds to disperse the arsonists but none could be arrested.
Nahid Hassan, superintendent of police, said the arsonists had poured petrol and set fire to the office after smashing the windowpanes of two rooms. Fire engines put out the flames after frantic efforts.
The Dulu Mukti Parishad has called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the district for today demanding immediate release of BNP central leader Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu.
Opposition activists put blockade at different points on Rangpur–Dhaka highway, including Modern crossing, CO bazaar, Bus Terminal and Darshana intersection in the city, reported the correspondent there.
Police arrested 10 BNP men, including a municipal ward councillor, for vandalism in the town on Sunday. The BNP activists vandalised vehicles in the town on Saturday night.
Three day-labourers suffered burns after opposition supporters set fire to a sand-laden truck at Fulbaria in Brahmanbaria and vandalised some other vehicles. Labourers Abdur Razzak, Zaher Mia and Md Mosharaf, all from village Nazirpur of Habiganj, were taken to hospital.
Auto-rickshaw driver Khairul Islam suffered burns after his vehicle went up in flames in a petrol bomb attack in front of Magura upazila complex. He was taken to Magura General Hospital.
In Kaliganj of Gazipur, truck driver Minu Mia, 42, and his assistant Rubel, 30, suffered severe burns as blockade enforcers set the truck on fire on Ghorashal–Kaliganj road on Saturday night. They were shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The correspondent in Sylhet said crude bombs were hurled at the houses of two Jatiya Party-nominated candidates for the 10th parliamentary election in Sylhet.
Police said miscreants had thrown several bombs at the houses of former Sylhet municipal chairman Babrul Hossain Babul and Zakiganj upazila chairman Sabbir Ahmad at Bateshwar and Shahjalal upashahar respectively.
The opposition alliance also enforced a daylong shutdown in Dakkhin Surma, Companiganj, Goainghat and Jaintapur upazilas in protest at the ‘attacks’ on the alliance leaders and withdrawal of cases filed against them.
Blockaders vandalised two CNG-run auto-rickshaws and five rickshaws in Dakkhin Surma in the city.
Blockaders torched a medicine-carrying covered van of Incepta Pharmaceuticals and ransacked nine other vehicles in Barisal on Sunday.
Police foiled an attempt to block Barisal-Dhaka highway at Kashipur and Rupatali.
The BNP-led alliance has called a daylong strike in Begumganj upazila for Monday protesting at the filing of ‘false’ cases against lawmaker Barkat Ullah Bulu, also joint secretary general of BNP.
In Dhaka, Juba Dal activists brought out processions at Hatirjheel, Mirpur 11, Tejgaon, Hajipara and Uttara while Chhatra Shibir men at Green Road and Khilkhet in the morning but police quickly dispersed them.
The police recovered 16 live bombs at Green Road after clashes with Shibir men.
Several crude bombs were also exploded by the blockaders in different parts of the capital in the morning. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws dominated the city streets in the morning.
Firefighters put out fire in a bus set ablaze at Dhanmondi in Dhaka on Sunday, the second day of the 72-hour countrywide opposition blockade. Ã¢€” New Age photo
Mehedi Hasan, a truck driver, receives treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital as he sustained severe burn injuries after his truck was set on fire in Faridpur on Sunday. Ã¢€” Sanaul Haque
Blockade supporters clash with police at AK Khan Gate in the Chittagong city on Sunday, the second day of the 72-hour countrywide opposition blockade. Ã¢€” New Age photo
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