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First day of hartal ends amid sporadic incidents of violence, arson

UNB . Dhaka
19 Nov 2023 22:05:33 | Update: 19 Nov 2023 22:05:33
First day of hartal ends amid sporadic incidents of violence, arson
Police personnel stand guard during a rally by Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP) activists demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the release of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, in Dhaka on October 28, 2023 — AFP Photo

The first day of the 48-hour hartal, enforced by the BNP and some like-minded parties and alliances, passed off on Sunday amid sporadic incidents of arson and clashes.

The shutdown began at 6am on Sunday and will end at 6am on Tuesday.

According to the reports reached at UNB news desk ten people were injured in a clash between police and BNP in Sunamganj while a primary school and a number of vehicles including a train were torched during the shutdown across the country.

In the capital, miscreants set a CNG-run auto-rickshaw on fire after hurling a crude bomb in front of ‘One Star Hotel’ on Kazi Alauddin Road in Old Dhaka around 8:30am, said Talha Bin Zashim, station officer of the Fire Service and Civil Defence (media cell).

In Sunamganj, at least 10 people including policemen and journalists were injured in a clash between BNP activists and law enforcers during picketing.

Locals said that BNP activists brought out a procession in favour of the hartal in Puratan Bus Stand area around 11 am and vandalised some vehicles, causing panic on the streets.

In Gazipur, miscreants set fire to a tin-shed room of Gilashawar Late A. Jabbar Government Primary School under Bormi union in Sreepur upazila early today, police said.

In Sylhet, Chhatra Dal and Swechchhasebak Dal leaders and activists took out processions in support of the hartal at multiple points of the city, including the airport, Tuker Bazar, and Medical Road area, in the early hours of Sunday.

A truck was vandalised during the shutdown at the airport road in Khasdabir area.

BNP leaders and activists took out a procession in support of the hartal at Shahi Eidgah area of the city around 1:30pm.

Witnesses said several crude bombs were exploded in the area.

In Narayanganj, police arrested Mohammad Shaheb Hawladar, president of Narayanganj College unit Chhatra Dal along with a bottle of petrol and 20 tyres from Boubazar Canalpara in Siddhirganj on Saturday night, said Golam Mostafa, officer-in-charge of Siddhirganj Police Station.

In Feni, miscreants set a goods-laden covered van on fire at Lalpole Latu Mia road on Dhaka-Chattogram highway early Sunday, said Shahidul Islam, officer-in-charge of Feni Model Police Station.

In Natore, miscreants torched a stationary truck after pouring petrol on the Natore-Bogura highway at Bhabaniganj in Natore district town early Sunday.

In Chattogram, police arrested ten BNP men when they brought out a procession in support of hartals from different parts of the district.

The presence of law enforcement personnel at several points in Dhaka is higher today compared to the previous blockades.

Number of public transport on Dhaka streets was fewer than that during the blockades.

Rickshaws are dominating Dhaka streets while a few private vehicles are on the road.

Unidentified arsonists set seven vehicles on fire, including a passenger train, in Dhaka and across the country between 7 pm last night and 6 am today, ahead of the 48-hour countrywide hartal.

Three buses were torched in the capital’s Gulistan, Dhanmondi and Mirpur areas last night.

One bus each in Cumilla and Chattogram and a pickup van in Joypurhat were also set on fire ahead of the hartal.

Arsonists set three compartments of the ‘Jamuna Express’ train on fire in Sarishabari upazila of Jamalpur district early today.

Miscreants exploded three crude bombs in front of the residence of Dhaka University's vice-chancellor last night, spreading panic among students.

According to the Fire Service and Civil Defence control room, eleven arson attacks were recorded in the past 15 hours, from 6 pm Saturday till 9am on Sunday.

Of these, five were set on fire inside Dhaka city three in Rajshahi division, two in Chattogram, and one in Mymensingh, said Talha Bin Zashim, station officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence (media cell).

A total of 235 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed across the country to maintain law and order as the 48-hour countrywide hartal across the country, said Shariful Islam, public relations officer (PRO) at BGB headquarters.

Meanwhile, a total of 460 patrol teams of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have been deployed in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country to maintain law and order during the shutdown.

This is the first hartal being observed by the opposition parties since the EC announced the polls schedule.

BNP, Jamaat and other opposition parties called the hartal after they had earlier observed five spells of countrywide blockades of roads, rail and waterways.

The blockades were marked by frequent burning of vehicles, particularly buses, in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.

At a press briefing yesterday, BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi called upon people from all walks of life and opposition leaders and activists to observe the hartal peacefully and make it a success.