Violence marks blockade
Opposition announces 5th spell from SaturdayStaff Correspondent
Violent clashes marked the last day of the fourth spell of the blockade of road, railway and waterways enforced by the opposition alliance on Thursday.
The alliance in the afternoon also announced the fifth spell of the blockade after the fourth spell ends this morning. The fifth spell of the blockade will continue till 5:00pm on Tuesday.
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan announced the blockade at a news conference at BNP chairperson’s office at Gulshan, demanding parliamentary polls under a non-party, caretaker government.
The opposition started enforcing the blockade after November 25 when the Election Commission announced the schedule for the 10th parliamentary elections, setting the polling date for January 5. The opposition is boycotting the polls.
One more, who was injured in blockade violence earlier, died form his injuries on Thursday.
Juba League activist Abdul Jabbar, 25, died in Holy Crescent Hospital in Chittagong about 11:30am. He was injured by Jamaat and Shibir activists at Madarbari of Satkania on December 10.
New Age correspondents from outside Dhaka reported clashes between pickets and the police and ruling party men, burning of vehicles alongside drives of the joint forces of the police, the Rapid Action Battalion and the Border Guard Bangladesh to arrest people involved in violence in places said to be strongholds of opposition parties.
The correspondent in Lalmonirhat reports that at least 30 Awami League activists had been stabbed by supporters of Jamaat and Shibir activists when they attacked an electioneering rally of Awami League candidate for January 5 polls Motahar Hossain, also a former state minister for primary and mass education, in the Bawra High School ground at Patgram.
The attackers also burnt the election campaign stage and 40 motorcycles of Awami League supporters in the place.
A few policemen present there moved Motahar Hossain to safety, the Burimari union Awami League president, Musa Ali, said.
Among the injured, 10 were reported to be in a critical condition. The injured are admitted to Hatibandha and Patgram health complexes.
The Bawra union AL president, Rabiul Islam Miron, said that at least 200 Jamaat and Shibir and BNP activists with sharp weapons attacked the meeting, stabbed Awami League activists indiscriminately and burnt the stage and motorcycles.
Motahar, who expressed concern about the incident, demanded the deployment of additional police and battalion personnel.
The Bawra union unit BNP president, Shamsul Alam, and the Jamaat-e-Islami unit president, Zakir Hossain, brushed aside the involvement of their party activists in the attack.
The Patgram police officer-in-charge, Sohrab Hossain, said that additional policemen and joint forces had been deployed in the
area immediately after the incident. He said that the situation was under control and the police were trying hard to arrest the attackers. Local people were panicked.
Reports from Jhenaidah said that opposition alliance activists set on fire the office of the Kotchandpur unit Awami League about midday.
Around a thousand activists attacked on the office, vandalised and set it on fire.
The Kotchandpur police officer-in-charge, Shahjahaan Ali, said that activists of the opposition alliance had broke into the AL office and set fire to it. They also blocked the road stretch with burning tires and logs.
The correspondent in Satkhira said that three Jamaat and Shibir activists had been injured after they had clashed with the joint forces at Raispur on the outskirts of the town when the forces were on drive against blockaders involved in violence. Eight Jamaat activists were arrested at the spot and six of them were sentenced to a year in jail by a mobile court.
Assistant superintendent of police in Satkhira M Moniruzzaman also became injured in the drive.
Local people said that Jammat activists were digging stretches of the Satkhira–Khanpur Road to stop vehicle movement. As the joint forces reached there, Jamaat activists exploded crude bombs and pelted the forces with stones in which the assistant superintendent of police was injured. The joint forces fired 250 gunshots.
A team of 90 army personnel reached Satkhira as advanced force for the winter exercise of the army, the deputy commissioner, M Anwar Hossain Hawlader, said.
The joint forces in overnight drives arrested eight more Jamaat and Shibir activists on charge of subversion. Till Thursday, 51 activists of Jamaat and Shibir and the BNP were arrested after the operation had begun on December 15.
The correspondent in Sylhet said that at least 10 BNP activists had been injured in a clash with the police in the city and the police arrested three Chhatra Dal activists.
Of the injured, the BNP’s city ward 6 unit general secretary Lallik Ahmed Chowdhury is admitted to North East Medical College Hospital with bullet wounds.
The clash broke out as blockaders started pelting the law enforcers with stones and the police charged at them with truncheons after the pickets had exploded some crude bombs. The police also fired several rubber bullets and exploded sound grenades.
Blockaders, meanwhile, burnt an auto-rickshaw and vandalised more than 20 vehicles at Subidbazar in the city. They also damaged five auto-rickshaws at Mehndibag.
The correspondent in Chittagong said that blockaders had burnt six covered vans at Salimpur of Sitakunda early Thursday.
The Sitakunda police officer-in-charge, SM Badiuzzaman, said that the police had put out the flames with the help of local people.
Reports from Brahmanbaria said that 11 crude bombs were exploded targeting the houses of the district unit BNP president, Harun al Rashid, also a former minister, and the district unit BNP vice president, Khaled Mahbub Shyamal, in the town midnight past Wednesday.
The correspondent in Pabna said that the battalion had seized 25 crude bombs from near Mirza Market in the Chatmohar municipality which were left abandoned in a carton.
The RAB 12 commander, Major ABM Farukuzzaman, said that 15 crude bombs and 10 petrol bombs had been left abandoned in a carton behind the market and they had handed them over to the police.
Reports from Meherpur said that the joint forces in a drive arrested 40 activists of the BNP and Jamaat, including five female Jamaat activists, at Rajanagar in the district headquarters. The drive continued from 5:00am to 9:00am.
Villagers said that the joint forces had reportedly vandalised several houses of opposition activists and Jamaat activists had set fire to four shops owned by Awami League supporters after the joint forces had left the place.
The police said that they had fired 200 rounds as Jamaat and Shibir activists pelted the joint forces members with stones and exploded crude bombs targeting them.
The correspondent in Bogra said that 15 activists of the BNP and Jamaat had been arrested at places in the district during drives of the joint forces.
The correspondent in Pirojpur said that the joint forces had arrested BNP and Jamaat activists at places in the district.
Three activists of the BNP and Jamaat were arrested at Zianagar and three more, including the upazila unit Jamaat amir, at place in Mathbaria on Wednesday.
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