Three more arson victims die
Hartal ends, blockade to continueStaff Correspondent
A trader was killed in arson attack on a truck in Sirajganj on Wednesday, the third day of the opposition-enforced 60-hour general strike that passed off amid stray incidents of violence.
Three more people, who had earlier sustained injuries during shutdown and blockades, succumbed to the injuries Dhaka and Chittagong on Wednesday.
The general strike, which began on Monday morning initially for 48-hours and extended by 12 more hours, ended at 6:00pm on Wednesday, while the blockade of roads, railways and waterways that began on January 1 for an indefinite period would continue.
The acting Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary-general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, in a statement issued after the expiry of the 60-hour strike on Wednesday, said the BNP-led opposition alliance would continue the nationwide blockade for an indefinite period demanding immediate cancellation of the 10th parliamentary polls held on January 5 and holding of fresh and participatory elections under a non-party government.
The capital remained cut-off from the rest of the country during the general strike as long route buses, trucks and other motorised vehicle remained off the roads.
Transport owners, however, began operating buses on long routes on Wednesday evening after the strike was over.
Bangladesh Bust-Truck Owners Association treasurer Kamal Hossain told New Age that they began operation of buses on long routes on Wednesday evening as they could no more afford keeping vehicles off the road. ‘Our buses left Dhaka for north and southern districts in the evening,’ he said.
The police in Sirajganj recovered the charred body of potato-trader Milon Hossain, 25, of Ganeshpur in Shibganj of Bogra, from beneath debris of a burnt down potato-laden truck at Panchila of Ullapara on Dhaka-Sirajganj-Rajshahi highway.
Sirajganj Hatikumrul Highway Police Station (West Zone) officer-in-charge Md Ali Farid Ahmed said that some Jammat and Shibir activists hurled petrol bomb on the truck at about 8:30pm on Tuesday and it caught in fire. After a seven-hour rescue operation, fire-fighters and law enforcers recovered Milon’s body.
Trucker Safat Ullah, 45, also suffered critical burns and was shifted to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital in Bogra and his assistant Sana Mia, 40, and potato-traders Md Mofazzal Hossain, 45 and Emdadul Hassan were given first aid at a local clinic.
Salanga police in Sirajganj lodged a case against 22 Jammat and Shibir men for the arson attack and arrested ten suspects.
Insurance official Sahina Akhter, 40, and fruit trader Farid Mia, 60, who suffered injuries in the arson attack on a bus at Paribagh in Dhaka during blockade on January 3, succumbed to their injures at around 1:45am and 10:00am respectively at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said residential surgeon Partha Sanker Pal.
Shahina worked for American Life Insurance Company and lived in Khulna with her husband Fakhruzzaman, a local journalist. Fruit vender Farid lived in Balughat area in Dhaka Cantonment and he was survived by widow, three sons and a daughter. Death toll by burns in political violence at the DMCH burn unit rose to 23 since October 25, 2013.
Apparel worker Rashedul Alam, 25, son of Sahmsul Haque of Panchbibi in Fatikchari upazila, who was injured at Hathazari on January 4, died at Ma O Shishu Hospital in Chittagong on Wednesday.
Rashed was critically injured as the CNG-run auto-rickshaw carrying him was attacked with bamboo sticks and other blunt weapons and was referred to Ma O Shishu Hospital where he was on life support for the past two days, said his cousin Javed Iqbal.
No pickets in support of the strike was seen in the capital but communications on regional rural routes collapsed because of enforcement of the shutdown although the scale of violence comparatively decreased.
Movement of public transports on the city streets was somewhat more than the previous day while rickshaws, CNG-run auto-rickshaws and battery-run three-wheelers dominated the streets.
No long-route bus left or arrived at bus terminal in Dhaka during the strike and police took position at different strategic points to fend off any trouble with teams of Border Guard Bangladesh on patrol.
Reports from Rajshahi said that the police foiled a procession of city unit Mahila Dal spraying coloured water. Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir blocked the Rajshahi-Naogaon highway in front the GPO in the city burning tyres and the police dispersed them firing rubber bullets and teargas shells.
Rajshahi Metropolitan Police commissioner Mahbubur Rahman told New Age that extra police men were deployed at the major points of the city.
New Age correspondent in Pabna reported that Jamaat and Shibir men set fire to a covered van of courier service SA Paribahan and vandalised 10 vegetable-laden trucks in Munna’s crossing on Pabna-Kushtia highway at Ishwardi, said Ishwardi police officer-in-charge Biman Kumar Das.
BNP men blockade the Ishwardi-Natore road in Muladuli level-crossing putting logs and burning tyres.
The correspondent at Islamic University in Kushtia reported that the university unit Jatyiatabadi Chhatra Dal went out on demonstration, set a university bus on fire and blasted five crude bombs near the administrative building.
Panic spread throughout the campus when some Chhatra Dal activists set a university bus parked at dormitory ground on fire. University unit Chhatra Dal secretary Rashedul Islam declined the responsibility of torching the bus and blasting bombs. A case was filed with Islamic University police station, said officer-in-charge Maniruzzaman.
Pickets in Barisal tried to block roads blasting crude bombs, burning tyres, and putting logs in different parts of the city and surrounding areas. Except suspension of long route road transports, communications on regional routes and waterways remained normal with lesser passengers.
In Lakshmipur, pickets blockaded roads at Mia Rastar Matha by burning tyre and vandalised four auto-rickshaws in BSCIC industrial area and Dalal Bazar. No long rout vehicles left the town during the strike.
Bogra unit of Jamaat-e-Islami on Wednesday called a daylong shutdown in the district for today protesting against the arrest of its 77 leaders and activists, including its district unit amir Shahabuddin.
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