2 die in blockade violence
Fresh 72hr blockade begins SaturdayStaff Correspondent
The opposition alliance on Thursday announced another spell of countrywide 72-hour blockade of roads, railway and waterways beginning Saturday morning.
The alliance made the announcement on the last day of its second spell of 131-hour blockade it started enforcing in the morning on November 30. The opposition earlier enforced its first round of 71-hour countrywide blockade beginning on November 26.
More than 45 people died in violence after the November 25 announcement of the schedule for the next general elections scheduled for January 5.
A teenaged assistant of a bus driver, who was burnt when a petrol bomb was exploded into a bus at Syedabad in the morning, died in Dhaka Medical College Hospital in the evening.
A rickshaw-puller, who became wounded with a bullet during blockade-related violence in Feni on December 2, died in Chittagong Medical College Hospital on Thursday.
Three more people also sustained burn injuries and score others became injured in violence in places on the last day of the second spell of the blockade that ended at 5:00pm on the day.
The bus driver’s assistant Hasan, who died in the DMCH, became wounded as blockaders about 9:00am exploded a petrol bomb inside the bus, parked in the Janapath crossing at Syedabad.
He was asleep inside the bus of Ishrak Paribahan. The bus burned down entirely.
The driver, Swapan Mia, said that he had kept the bus parked in the place for three days.
Fire fighters rescued Hasan and sent him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s joint secretary-general Salahuddin Ahmed in a video message recorded on an undisclosed location announced the fresh blockade beginning at 6:00am Saturday.
The United Nations assistant secretary general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, is due in town on Saturday.
Salahuddin, the BNP spokesperson, said that the opposition alliance was forced to announce the fresh agitation programme as the government had failed to meet the opposition demand for an non-party, election-time government by Thursday afternoon.
The opposition alliance on Wednesday gave the government till Thursday afternoon to meet its demand.
‘We will call off our programme the moment the government announces the formation of an election-time government,’ he added.
The alliance will today hold ghayebana janaza in all cities, districts and upazila headquarters after the jumma prayers for the activists who died in the blockade-related violence.
Opposition activists continued to battle with law enforcers, attack rivals, burn and vandalise vehicles and vessels and remove railway on Thursday, snapping communications of the capital and with the rest of the country.
The death figure could rise as some of the victims who became severely wounded were in a critical condition, physicians said.
The rickshaw-puller Mafizur Rahman, 50, who became wounded with a bullet in a clash between the polcie and Islami Chhatra Shibir at Daganbhuiyan in Feni, died from his injuries in Chittagong Medical College Hospital about 9:00am on Thursday, the New Age correspondent reported.
In Chittagong on Thursday, CNG-run auto-rickshaw-driver Khorshed Alam
sustained burn injures after blockaders had burnt his vehicle in front of Usmania Glass Sheet Factory. Local people sent him to the burn unit in the CMCH.
Opposition activists also clashed with the police at Colonel Hat, attacked a police van and vandalised a ward unit Awami League office near Kaibalyadham.
CMP additional deputy commissioner Arefin Jewel said that blockaders had tried to create a chaos in the morning but the police dispersed them.
Reports from Kurigram said that at least 20 people, including a policeman, had been injured as blockaders had clashed with the law enforcers at Chilmari in the district.
Blockaders burnt a motorcycle and damaged an ambulance, a motorcycle and two bicycles.
The clash began about 10:45am when the police stopped a BNP procession near the Ramna High School. The police fired 89 rubber bullets and six teargas shells to contain the situation, the Chilmari police officer-in-charge, Rezaul Karim, said.
The correspondent in Shariatpur said that opposition activists had set three vessels berthered at the WAPDA launch terminal on fire about midnight past Wednesday.
Local people put out the flames. The tarpaulins and furniture of the vessels were damaged.
The Naria police officer-in-charge, Abul Khair Fakir, said that blockaders had set fire to decks of the vessels including the MV Naria 1 and the MV Sureshwar 1. A member on the MV Naria 1 staff, Anwar Hossain, sustained burn injuries when he was trying to put out flames.
Reports from Jaipurhat said that blockaders had removed about 30m stretch of railway near the Uri Madhabpara bridge about 6:00am. Train service remained disrupted for three hours.
A number of trains including the Rangpur Express, the Uttara Mail and the Ekata Express remained stranded at stations till 9:00am.
The correspondent in Sylhet said that opposition activists had vandalised more than 30 vehicles, including microbuses, pick-up vans and auto-rickshaws, in the city.
Chhatra Dal activists, who gathered in the Babna crossing about 8:30am, went on the rampage on the Station Road, Bangabir Road and at Pandirpul of Dakkhin Surma.
The correspondent in Barisal said that blockaders had clashed with the police on Port Road after the police stopped a procession.
The police charged at the blockaders with truncheons and fired eight rubber bullets to contain the situation. A BNP activist was arrested at the spot, the Kotwali police officer-in-charge, Shakhawat Hossain, said.
At least 20 people, including two BNP leaders, became wounded with rubber bullets in a clash between blockaders and the police at Madhabdi on the Dhaka–Sylhet Highway in Narsingdi. The police arrested nine BNP supporters.
The clash began as the police tried to clear a road stretch BNP supporters had blocked. Opposition activists pelted the police with stones and the police fired rubber bullets.
In Rangpur, 10 people, including three policemen, were injured in a clash at Pirganj when the BNP brought out a procession and the police intercepted the marchers.
The police at the marchers with truncheons when the blockaders pelted the police with stones. The police arrested eight BNP men at the spot.
The injured police subinspector Illias Ali, assistant subinspector Ali Hossain and constable Saidur Rhaman were sent to Pirgonj Health Complex.
The superintendent of police, Abdur Razzak, said that security had been heightened in the district to ensure people’s safety.
Blockaders in Bogra exploded crude bombs inside the municipality, leaving three on the office staff injured.
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