Blockade passes 2nd day
2 succumb to earlier injuriesStaff Correspondent
The capital remained virtually cut off from the rest of the country as vehicles were burnt, railway lines sabotaged as clashes between pickets and the police were reported from places across the country on Wednesday, the second day of the fourth spell of opposition alliance-enforced blockade of roads railways and waterways.
Two more people on Wednesday succumbed to the injuries they had earlier sustained in political violence.
Bus driver Al Amin, 28, son of Abdul Awal of Bandan of Gazipur, who had sustained severe burn as his bus was set on fire in Gazipur on December 3, died at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital at about 10:30am.
Asma Begum Razia, 42, who was caught in crossfire during a clash between the police and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir at Halatti village of Jaipurhat on Sunday, succumbed to her injuries at about 3:30am at Shahid Zia Medical College Hospital in Bogra.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance was enforcing its fourth spell of nationwide blockade from 6:00am on Tuesday pressing for cancellation of the scheduled of the 10th parliamentary polls and holding the polls under a non-party government. The blockade would end at 6:00am Friday if it was not extended further like the past three spells.
With communications between Dhaka and the rest of the country snapped for the blockade badly affecting life and taking a heavy toll on economy, shipping minister Shahjahan Khan announced that vehicles on long-routes would ply highways from Friday defying blockade or shutdown.
Shahjahan, also the executive president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation, said that the government had taken all-out measures to ensure the safe movement of vehicles on highways and the deputy commissioners, superintendents of police, local administrations, local public representatives and local transport owners and workers union would take necessary steps in this regard.
Stray incidents were reported from places across the country.
New Age correspondent in Chittagong reported that crude bombs were hurled aiming at police van and at least seven covered vans were set on fire.
Jamaat and Shibir men threw two crude bombs targeting police van at Khatiber Hat of Bahaddarhat prompting the police to arrest one from the scene, said Chandgaon police officer-in-charge Abdur Rouf.
Seven goods-laden covered vans were torched on early Wednesday at Fakirerhat of Sitakunda on Dhaka-Chittagong highway, the country’s economic lifeline.
Pickets blocked the Dhaka-Chittagong highway putting logs across the road in Nunuachara, Panthichhila, Battal and Sheikh Para areas of Sitakunda.
One of the truckers, Ahsanullah, sustained severe burn injuries in the arson attack and he was admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said assistant registrar of the burn unit at the hospital Hasmat Ali Mia.
Chittagong Fire Service deputy assistant director Jashim Uddin said that pickets set afire seven covered vans after midnight. Firemen put out the flame after an effort of half an hour, he added.
Reports from Narsingdi said that six crude bombs were blasted in front of the office of upazila nirbahi officers at Madhabdi and Palash and on house of Awami League lawmaker Anwarul Ashraf Khan.
Three more crude bombs were hurled at Madhabdi Palli Bidyut Samiti, while pickets blocked the Dhaka-Sylhet highway burning tyres and logs at Morzal and Panchrukhi.
New Age correspondent in Jessore reported that the district BNP enforced a half-day general strike in Jessore protesting at the killing of its leader Masudur Rahman alongside enforcement of the blockade.
In Dhaka, crude bombs were blasted in Gabtali and Mirpur areas early in the morning in hit-and-run attacks.
Some pickets set fire to rail lines in Tejgaon area and the police doused the flames with the help of local people.
More vehicles were seen to ply the city roads in Dhaka on Wednesday than earlier days of blockades as law enforcers took position at the important points to fend off any untoward situation.
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