Jamaat-Shibir on rampageStaff Correspondent
Pickets intensified their street presence and clashed with lawmen on Wednesday, the fifth day of the third spell of rail-road-waterways blockade enforced by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance.
The opposition alliance began to enforce the third spell of countrywide blockade on Saturday pressing for cancellation of the election schedule and holding the next general elections under a non-party government.
Road communications across the country remained suspended on the day, also the 3rd day of the Jamaat-e-Islami’s general strike. Train and ferry services on major routes were also disrupted.
Akhtar Hossain, 45, a poultry trader from Pabna,
was killed in Sirajganj when two trucks loaded with goods overturned after being chased by pickets near a bridge on the western part of the Bangabandhu Bridge area.
Around 400 were injured in the countrywide violence during the blockade.
Violence and fighting between protesters and the police and ruling party men flared further during the 144-hour blockade as Jamaat and Shibir men intensified their street presence, protesting against execution of Jamaat leader Quader Molla, sentenced to death for committing crimes against humanity in the 1971 Liberation War
Activists of the main opposition BNP and its ally Jamaat and Shibir staged violent protests on highways and district towns and clashed with the police at places including Khulna, Jessore, Norail, Bogra, Dinajpur, Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet and Bandarban.
The capital remained virtually cut-off from other parts of the country as pickets continued to block highways by felling trees at places and setting vehicles on fire.
The inter-district buses and trucks remained off the roads with limited train and ferry services, virtually disconnecting the capital from the rest of the country during the BNP-led alliance’s protracted blockade, scheduled to end Friday morning at 6:00am.
In Dhaka city, Jamaat and Shibir activists went on rampage by exploding nearly 100 crude bombs and locked in clashes with the police at Shahjadpur and Khilgaon in the morning. They set two CNG-run auto rickshaws on fire. At one point, the police fired rubber bullets and teargas shells and charged baton.
Crude bombs were also blasted on the court premises in Old Dhaka and at other places including Fakirerpul, Shahbagh, Jatrabari, Bhatara, Gabtoli and Uttara.
Un identified assailants activists snatched a pistol of a sub-inspector at Shanir Akhra, confirmed Kadamtoli police sub-inspector Abdul Khaleque.
Jamaat and Shibir activists also rampaged on the Haji Danesh Science and Technology University campus in Dinajpur.
In Khulna city, at least 15 people including five policemen were injured in a fierce clash at about 7:30am at Sonadanga.
The clash took place when the police swooped on Shibir activists for putting up a road barricade disrupting movement of easy bikes, auto-rickshaws and rickshaws.
The police fired rubber bullets and teargas shells as they came under attack by Shibir activists. The clash continued for about 40 minutes.
Sonadanga police officer-in-charge Kamruzzaman claimed that his forces had fired sixty rubber
bullets to disperse Shibir protesters.
Khulna city Chatra Shibir president said that five Shibir activists, including bullet-injured Golam Rahman, were arrested during the clash.
In Sylhet, Jamaat and Shibir activists clashed with the law enforcers, exploded crude bombs, vandalised a shopping centre and a private bank and torched two police vehicles and an ambulance on Wednesday, the second consecutive day of hartal called by Jamaat. At least 20 including a policemen were injured during the violence.
Sylhet Metropolitan Police arrested 32 Jamaat and Shibir men at places in the city, additional deputy commissioner Mohammed Ayub told New Age.
A platoon of Border Guard Bangladesh joined with the police and dispersed the Jamaat and Shibir activists after firing a number of rubber bullets and teargas shells and exploding several sound grenades.
New Age correspondent in Sirajganj reported that the pickets also torched at least three trucks and vandalised 20 vehicles on Saidabad-Kadda-Nalka road, the western side of the Bangabandhu Bridge at about 1:30am.
The pickets also up-rooted a sleeper of Khokshabari bailey bridge on Sirajganj-Kazipur road and staged demonstration in early hours of the day.
The New Age correspondent in Narail reported that sadar police station inspector (investigation), two sub-inspectors, 5 constables and seven Jamaat and Shibir men were injured in a clash between the police and the activists of Jamaat and Shibir in Ghorakhali-Dumurtola area under sadar upazila of the district.
The police and witnesses said that several hundred Jamaat and Shibir men took position in the area and blocked Narail-Magura and Narail-Maizpara roads at about 7:30 m. On information, the police rushed the spot and charged baton and fired 80 bullets at the pickets, who reiterated with charging crude bombs and throwing brickbats.
The New Age correspondent in Lalmonirhat reported that at least 250 railway clips of Lalmonirhat-Burimari route were removed in the middle of Bawra and Patgram stations at Patgram upazila on Wednesday morning. A Lalmonirhat station bound passenger train was stranded at Patgram station, compelling the rail authority to suspend train service on the route.
Police walk down the Dash Mile crossing in Dinajpur after Jamaat and Shibir activists blocked the road with logs. Ã¢€” New Age photo
Blockaders block a road stretch in Bogra with logs. Ã¢€” New Age photo
Local people beat and drag a man suspected of picketing at Shahzadpur in Dhakae on Wednesday. Ã¢€” New Age photo
Blockaders pelt a RAB vehicle with stones at Shahzadpur in Dhaka. Ã¢€” New Age photo
Blockaders vandalise an Awami League office and a few shops in Rajshahi. Ã¢€” New Age photo
Road communications in Sirajganj remains snapped as Jamaat and Shibir activists pulled out plates of a bridg. Ã¢€” New Age photo
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