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4th spell of blockade begins with stray incidents

Staff Correspondent

Stray incidents of violence and arson marked the first day of the fourth spell of the Bangladesh-Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance-enforced blockade of road, railway and waterways on Tuesday.
The 72-hour blockade began at 6:00am on Tuesday and would end at 6:00am on Friday if it was not extended further like the past three spells of blockade the alliance enforced since the announcement of the election schedule on November 25.
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Kham on Monday evening announced the fresh spell of blockade pressing for cancellation of the schedule for the 10th parliamentary polls and holding the elections under a non-party government.
Activists of the BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir staged violent protests on highways and district towns and clashed with the police at places including Lalmanirhat, Satkhira, Jessore, Laksmipur and Bogra.
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 during the blockade which was coincided with daylong general strike enforced by the Jamaat in Satkhira, Jaipurhat and Laksmipur districts. 
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.
Reports from Jaipurhat said that Jamaat activist Abdur Rahman, 45, who sustained bullet injuries during Sunday’s clash with law enforcers in Jaipurhat, died at a private hospital in Dhaka on early Tuesday taking to four the death toll in the Sunday’s clash.
The Jamaat enforced a daylong general strike in the district on Tuesday in protest against the killing of its activists alongside the blockade. No untoward incident reported in the district though owners of most of the shops kept their shutters down while educational institutions remained closed.
Reports from Lalmonirhat said that at least 100 fishplates were removed from railway tracks on Lalmonirhat-Burimari route at Bawra and Awliarhat of Patgram upazila in the district.
Lalmonirhat government railway police officer-in-charge Shamsul Alam, said that Jamaat and Shibir men removed the fishplates and continued with their blockade on railway at some points on the route.
The pickets also put logs across the rail tracks at places on the route, he said.
The Jamaat also enforced a daylong shutdown in the district protesting against killing of its three activists in Patgram on Sunday.
New Age staff correspondent in Sylhet reported that a group of some 10 Shibir men hacked Sylhet Polytechnic Institute unit Chhatra League president Saiquat Chandra Rimi at the entrance of the institute. Later, Saiquat was rushed to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital.
On Monday evening, a group of unidentified youths swooped on SUST chemistry department office assistant Abdur Rab, 28, on the campus and hacked him, campus sources said.
SUST assistant proctor Niloy Chandra Sarker told New Age that Abdur Rab was undergoing treatment at Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital. A case was filed with the Jalalabad police in this regard, he added.
In Laksmipur, Jamaat enforced a daylong shutdown in protest against killing of its district unit nayeb-e-amir Fayez Ahmad. Shibir activists staged demonstrations on Laksmipur-Ramgati road and Laksmipur-Dhaka road at Mandari and Zakshin Bazar.
Most of the shops and business establishments remained closed in the town amid patrol of police, Rapid Action Battalion and Border Guard Bangladesh. 
In Bogra, Chhatra Dal enforced blockade at Tinmatha on the outskirts of the town. Opposition activists also took position at Matidali, Banani and Charmatha.
In the capital, pickets set fire to the local office of Chhatra League at section 14 of Mirpur at around 6:00am.  
Vehicular movement in the city streets was much lesser than usual

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