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1 killed as violence marks hartal

Staff Correspondent

Policemen patrol city roads carrying sticks to keep law and order on Saturday evening before today’s national elections amid opposition boycott. — Indrajit GhoshPolicemen patrol city roads carrying sticks to keep law and order on Saturday evening before today’s national elections amid opposition boycott. — Indrajit Ghosh

A picket was killed in Lalmonirhat as pickets clashed with ruling party men and law enforcers at places during the opposition’s 48-hour general strike to thwart today’s election that marked arson attacks on vehicles, vessels, train and polling centres across the country. 
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance enforced the 48-hour general strike to thwart the election and protesting at the confinement of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in her house alongside nonstop road-rail-waterway blockade it had been enforcing since January 1.
More than 100 polling booths set up for today’s polls across the country were torched.
Mobarok Hossain, 38, president of ward unit Swechchhasebak Dal at Bawra union of Patgram in Lalmonirhat was reportedly hacked to death at bordering village of Shafinagar when ruling Awami League men attacked an opposition rally. Eight Awami League supporters and two BNP supporters were injured in the clash and Mobarak died because of excessive bleeding, reports the correspondent in Lalmanirhat.
Bawra union council chairman Habibul Haque Basunia confirmed the dearth of Mobarak. Patgram police officer-in-charge Amiruzzaman, however, said that he heard of the news but was not confirm yet as the village was far away from the upazila headquarters.
A group of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir activists torched a temple, Parapukur Mandir, of Hindu community at the village and severely injured Hindu community leader Sunil Chandra Sen and six other Hidnus who tried to resist the arson attack.
The injured could not be taken to hospitals as Jamaat and BNP men blockaded the road and guarded the village carrying sharp weapons. Patgram police chief Amiruzzaman said law men were late in reaching the village as the road was blocked.
New Age correspondent in Natore reported that a petrol bomb was hurled into a compartment of Dinajpur-bound Ekata Express at Natore railway station leaving at least a dozen injured. The train was also damaged by throwing hails of stones when it entered the station at around 9:00am. The police fired rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse the attackers and arrested Shibir activist Sharif.
New Age correspondent in Pabna reported that 20 people were injured, mostly bullet hit, in a series of fierce clash between activists of Chhatra League and Chhatra Dal at Ishwardi. Several crude bombs went off during the clash. Khulna-bound Mohananda Express which came from Rajshahi also came under attack at Ishwardi station and at least 50 shops and three bank branches were also damaged during the clash, said the police.
In Dhaka, a launch berthed at Sadarghat launch terminal was torched early in the morning. A group of people set fire to a cabin on launch MV Tipu 5 after the vessel reached the terminal from Hatiya of Noakhali. A fire-fighting unit from Sadarghat fire station rushed the spot and doused the flame after one hour of efforts.  
No long-route bus entered or left the capital, transport operators said.
Jamaat and Shibir men brought out a sudden procession near Moghbazar level crossing in the morning and dispersed before the police reached the place. Several crude bombs were blasted.
In Kurigram, five Chhatra League activists including district unit president Minhazul Islam Ayub were injured as pickets attacked a ruling party procession against the strike at Kalibari crossing in the town. Minhazul was admitted to Kurigram General Hospital.
New Age correspondent in Feni reported that auto-rickshaw driver Shahab Uddin sustained burn injury as his auto-rickshaw was set on fire in the town. Shahab was admitted to Feni General Hospital.
In Bogra, seven Chhatra League activists were injured as crude bombs were blasted on an anti-strike procession.
In Magura, trucker Moslem Ali, 40, and his assistant Faruk Hossain, 38, sustained burn injuries when two Khulna bound cotton-laden trucks were set on fire near Barnanduali in the town on Friday night, said Magura police officer-in-charge MA Hashem Ali.
The correspondent in Satkhira said joint forces arrested eight BNP and Jamaat activists at places and recovered three kilograms of gunpowder and two bottles of acid from Jamaat activist Mukhtar Ali.  
The joint forces arrested 88 persons, mostly opposition activists, in Sylhet and Khulna.




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