2 more killed in violence
Blockade extended to 5:00pm ThursdayStaff Correspondent
At least two people were killed and dozens injured on Monday as sporadic clashes and acts of arson and sabotage marked the third day of the fresh spell of the opposition-enforced rail-road-waterway blockade which has been extended by 59 hours ending at 5:00pm Thursday.
Buses were burnt and railway lines sabotaged as clashes between demonstrators and the police were reported from different places across the country on the day. The blockade virtually snapped communications between the capital and the rest of the country badly affecting life and taking a heavy toll on economy.
The BNP-led alliance extended the blockade as the Election Commission had not postponed the schedule for the 10th parliamentary election as demanded by the alliance.
BNP joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed, acting as the party’s spokesperson, in a videoed statement, on Monday morning announced that the ongoing ‘peaceful’ blockade had been extended to 5:00pm Thursday.
He urged the people to peacefully observe the blockade programme despite inconveniences ‘for the greater interest of the country, restoration of democracy and for the interest of the nation’s independence and sovereignty’.
Saifuzzaman Sujan, 30, organising secretary Natore town unit of Chhatra Dal, was killed in violent clashes between the activists of BNP and Awami League in Natore and auto-rickshaw driver Rubel died during clashes between the blockaders and ruling party activists at Shibganj of Chapainawabganj.
The LGRD and cooperatives minister, Syed Ashraful Islam, also Awami League general secretary, and some other candidates for the January 5 polls came under bomb attacks when they were going to submit nomination papers.
The blockaders hurled crude bombs at the motorcade of Syed Ashraful Islam around 8:15am at Tongi on his way to Kishoreganj to submit nomination papers.
Ismail Hossain, officer-in-charge of Tongi police, said miscreants had hurled three crude bombs at the AL leader’s motorcade in front of Hossain Market in Tongi. ‘None was hurt in the attack and the minister left the place safely,’ he said.
The correspondent in Natore said Saifuzzaman Sujan, 30, organising secretary of the Natore town unit of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, was pronounced dead on arrival at Baptist Mission
Hospital in the town with bullet wounds after violent clashes between the activists of Awami League and BNP at Kanaikhali.
The fighting broke out after a BNP procession demanding release of its leader Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu was intercepted by the police as it was approaching Uttara super market in the town, witnesses said.
The BNP men’s attempts to force their way through the police barricade led to the clashes and soon Awami League activists, who were demonstrating against the strike enforced by Dulu’s men at Kanaikhali, joined the fighting. The feuding groups hurled stones at each other and at one point it turned into a gunfight, leaving dozens injured.
District unit JCD organising secretary Dalim, activists Tusher and Ripon have been taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.
The district unit BNP has extended the strike by 72 hours till 6:00pm Thursday in protest against the killing.
Supporters of Golam Rabbani, the Awami League-nominated candidate in January 5 polls, clashed with blockaders in Shibganj of Chapainawabganj that left one person dead and scores injured.
The feuding groups hurled crude bombs at each other after a procession brought out by Rabbani’s supporters came face to face with opposition activists on Shibganj-Kansat road around noon. Several persons were injured in the clashes.
Auto-rickshaw driver Rubel was trapped between the feuding groups and was hit by splinters. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Shibganj health complex, said attending doctor Raibul Islam.
The opposition activists later mounted an arson attack on the house of Golam Rabbani.
Rabbani’s younger brother Benaul Islam said the opposition men had attacked the house and set it on fire around 2:00pm.
A truck, a car and several motorbikes parked on the house premises were burnt in the arson attack.
In Chittagong a five-year-old schoolgirl suffered wounds in the head as blockaders blasted a crude bomb. Two truckers suffered severe burns when blockaders hurled petrol bombs at their vehicles in Sitakunda and Hathazari upazilas, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
Splinters hit Sumaiya Akhter Sadia, a nursery student of Cap International School, in the head when blockaders exploded a bomb as she was going to school with her mother in Akbar Shah Mazar area around 9:00am.
Sadia, daughter of Osman Gani Russell, is undergoing treatment at Chittagong Medical College and Hospital.
Trucker Md Yasin suffered appalling burns after blockaders hurled a petrol bomb at his vehicle in Sitakunda around 3:30am. He was taken to the burn unit of CMCH.
A second trucker was injured in a similar attack at Battala and he was admitted to CMCH.
The correspondent in Narayanganj said a garment worker suffered burns as blockaders set fire to a bus in Narayanganj. The driver and helper of a truck were injured when blockaders hurled stones at the vehicle.
Shirin Begum, 18, a worker of Lovely Garment, suffered burns when blockaders set fire to a bus at Tarabo around 8:00am. Shirin, who is carrying for six months, was admitted to the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
Violent clashes took place between BNP-Jamaat men and the police at Court Station Bazar in Rajshahi. The blockaders also torched a human hauler requisitioned by the police.
The fighting broke out around 8:00am when police halted stick-wielding marchers of BNP, Jamaat and Shibir in Court Station Bazar area.
The marchers threw petrol bombs and crude bombs at the police who retaliated by firing bullets and tear gas.
Reinforcements, including Rapid Action Battalion, rushed to the spot and dispersed the blockaders around 9:00am.
The blockaders continued targeting the railway torching carriages and removing fishplates and rail tracks at places causing derailment of several trains.
Pickets removed fishplates near Banglapara of Raninagar in Rajshahi snapping train service between northern districts and Dhaka. Train service on Parbatipur-Khulna route was also suspended after railway line was sabotaged at Bhangapara in Bogra.
The train service from Jamalpur to the northern region via Tangail again got disrupted after a 50-metre track was removed near Hemnagar station in Gopalpur upazila of Tangail.
In Tangail, Chhatra Shibir activists set fire to a stretch of railway line on Dhaka-Bangabandhu Bridge route at Sonalia in Basail upazila in the morning.
Train communication on Dhaka-Ishwardi route also remained suspended for two hours following the removal of fishplates near Kuitanga Bridge in Ullapara of Sirajganj.
Blockaders in Cox’s Bazar attacked the motorcade of Abdur Rahman Badi, Awami League lawmaker for Ukhia-Teknaf, when he was going to submit his nomination papers for the January 5 polls.
Badi’s motorcade came under attack at Khuniapalan in Ramu around noon afer he started for Ukhia from Cox’s Bazar town. The blockaders threw stones at his car. Badi got off the car and fired two rounds in the air from his gun to scare them away, witnesses said.
In Barisal, opposition activists vandalise and torched vehicles, blocked highway and blasted crude bombs.
Police foiled attempts to block Barisal-Dhaka highway at Kashipur, Rupatali and Port Road areas.
The correspondent in Khulna said that 987 containers remained stranded at wharfs as blockade has disrupted transports between Mongla port and the rest of the country.
Containers with frozen shrimp worth over Tk 150 crore for export also remained stranded at the factories due to disruption of transport services caused by the protracted blockade.
In Dhaka, blockaders torched a tempo and a CNG-run auto-rickshaw on Mitford Road in the Old Town, said DMP’s Lalbagh zone additional commissioner Abdus Salam.
Miscreants tried to set fire to a bus of Safety Paribahan near Dhakeswari temple at about 9:40am, witnesses said.
Lalbagh police sub-inspector Sarwar Hossain told New Age that a youth in the guise of a passenger had tried to set fire to a seat of the bus. But locals quickly put out the fire.
Blockaders hurled four crude bombs at a police car at Karwan Bazar in the morning.
A group of Jamaat-Shibir men started fire on the road after a sudden procession on Beribandh road in Kamrangirchar. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the bomb-throwing Shibir men. Police picked up Shibir activist Masum.
At about 9:00am, Shibir activists tried to bring out a procession on Nawabganj Road in the Old Town. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas that left Shibir’s city unit (east) publicity secretary Abdul Kader injured.
Lalbagh police officer-in-charge Nurul Mustakim confirmed the incident.
Police arrested three Swechchhasebak Dal activists, including its Mirpur unit joint secretary Sagir Hossain, after blockaders tried to bring out a procession in Mirpur1area. Mirpur police chief Salahuddin Ahmed said the police had also recovered three cocktails from the marchers.
At about 10:00am, some Chhatra Shibir activists blasted five crude bombs at Roy Sahib Bazaar in English Road in Old Dhaka.
Earlier on Friday, the alliance announced the 72- hour countrywide blockade from 6:00am on Saturday to 6:00am on Tuesday in protest against the announcement of the election schedule, the government’s ‘repression’ on the opposition, killing and arrest of the alliance leaders and activists and arson attacks on vehicles and sabotage by ‘government agents’ across the country.
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