Ferries torched at Mawa as blockade beginsStaff Correspondent
Stray incidents of violence and arson marked the first day of the third spell of the opposition-enforced blockade of road, railway and waterways on Saturday as pickets clashed with the police and torched vehicles and ferries to push for a non-partisan polls-time government.
At the end of its last 131-hour blockade on Thursday, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party joint secretary general Salauddin Ahmed in a video message from an undisclosed location had announced the third spell of 72-hour blockade on behalf of the alliance. The fresh spell of blockade would end at 6:00am Tuesday if it was not extended further.
Bangladesh Railway authorities have introduced advanced loco pilot system to avoid possible acts of sabotage by running a single locomotive as scout before a train, said Ferdaus Alam, general manager of Bangladesh Railway (West).
A transport worker suffered severe burns after blockaders set fire to a bus of Bikrampur Paribahan parked on Mawa ferry terminal premises early Saturday. He was sleeping in the bus when it was torched.
Alamgir, 23, was brought to the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital where another transport worker, Hasan, died on Friday after suffering severe burns in a similar incident.
Louhajang police officer-in-charge Abul Kalam said Alamgir was sleeping inside the bus on the Mawa launch terminal parking yard when the blockaders set it on fire.
The blockaders also set fire to two motor launches and vandalised another besides torching another bus in the predawn arson at the terminal.
The blockaders set fire to the decks of MV Rajib-2 and MV Masum but locals quickly put out the flames preventing any major damage, said the OC adding that the blockaders also vandalised another vessel, MV Sajal-1. All three launches were berthed at Mawa ferry terminal, he said.
The blockaders also torched a bus of Gangchil Paribahan parked at the terminal around 3:15am, said the police.
The correspondent in Gazipur said blockaders had torched a motorcycle of a sub-inspector of Joydebpur police around 11:00am after the police had stopped them from damaging vehicles.
Sub-inspector Aklima Akter of Joydbepur police station said they had heard the news of torching of the personal motorcycle of SI Hafizur Rahamn but none was arrested as yet.
Pickets in Rajshahi torched a rice-laden truck at Ashraf’s crossing on the outskirts of the city around 2:00am, four hours before the beginning of the blockade.
Reports from Chapainawabganj said pickets had vandalised the car of an on-duty magistrate at Khairabad in Gomastapur around 11:00am. Police arrested Gomastapur unit Swechchhasebak Dal president Sazzad Hossain in this connection.
Reports from Sherpur said opposition activists had torched the Gunaritala union unit office of the Awami League in Madarganj upazila early Saturday.
In Dhaka activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir clashed with police and chased each other in Islampur area of Old Dhaka.
Kotwali police officer-in-charge Shah Alam said Shibir activists of Jagannath University from a procession blasted crude bombs and vandalised vehicles. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas leaving a Shibir activist and a policeman injured.
Police also arrested Shibir activist Shamim, from Lalbagh after he blasted three crude bombs and also recovered two more bombs from his possession, said Lalbagh police chief Nurul Muttakim.
Blockaders also brought out processions at Rampura, Bhasantek and Tejgaon in the morning and vandalised some vehicles there.
Police held two Shibir activists from Rampura after they blasted bombs and four more from
Banasri area. Rampura police officer-in-charge Kreepa Shindhu Bala said that the Shibir men were arrested after they hurled a few crude bombs.
In Laxmipur, opposition activists blocked the Laxmipur-Dhaka highway by putting logs and burning tyres at places in the district. They brought out processions in the town in the morning. No long-route buses left the district bus terminal.
In Bogra, activists of the BNP-led alliance blocked the Bogra-Rangpour highway in Matidali area.
In Pabna, opposition activists blocked the Pabna-Dhaka highway, Pabna-Rajshahi highway and Pabna-Kushtia highway by putting logs, electric poles and burning tyres at places.
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