18-party set to enforce 60-hr nonstop general strike: 31 held

18-party set to enforce 60-hr nonstop general strike: 31 held

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The BNP-led 18-party alliance is set to enforce a 60-hour nonstop countrywide hartal from 6am on Sunday despite the Prime Minister’s request to the opposition leader to withdraw the shutdown. The hartal programme will end at 6pm on Tuesday. Earlier on Friday, giving the government until Saturday to initiate dialogue over the polls-time nonpartisan cabinet, opposition leader Khaleda Zia from a rally of the 18-party alliance announced to enforce the hartal programme if the regime does not come up with a positive response. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina phoned Opposition Leader and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia over cellphone on Saturday evening at about 6:20 pm and requested her to withdraw their three-day hartal as well as meet her at Ganobhaban over dinner on Monday for talks over the election-time cabinet. Apparently turning down Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s offer to have a dialogue over the current political crisis on Monday, Khaleda told her arch rival that she would sit with her after the end of their scheduled hartal programme. Meanwhile, six vehicles were torched in separate places of the city on Saturday, ahead of the BNP-led 18-party’s shutdown programme. However, there was no report of any casualty in the attack. Police arrested 31 people suspecting their involvement in exploding bombs and torching vehicles from different parts of the capital on Saturday. A senior Dhaka Metropolitan Police official said the law enforcers also recovered 11 live crude bombs tossed in different areas in the capital hours ahead of BNP-led 18-party alliance’s 60-hour hartal beginning at 6am on Sunday. Pro-hartal activists, especially Islami Chhatra Shibir men, allegedly set off crude bombs at a number of targets, including the houses of Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakib Uddin Ahmad and Appellate Division judge Justice SK Sinha, on Saturday. In another incident, senior newsroom editor of Channel Ekattur received serious splinter injuries as a bomb exploded in front of his office at Baridhara at about 6:30 pm. Dhaka Metropolitan Police has been taken all-out measures to ensure the security of the city dwellers to avert any unpleasant incident in the capital during the opposition-sponsored 60-hourlong nonstop hartal. Sources at the DMP headquarters said over 12,000 additional police will remain on alert at different strategic points of the city to fend off any untoward incident during the hartal hours. Besides, plainclothes police will remain there with still and video cameras at a number of strategic city points to identify the troublemakers during the hartal hours. – UNB   1 killed, 59 hurt in violence in eight districts Dhaka – A Chhatra Shibir activist was killed and over 59 people were injured as opposition activists clashed with law enforcers and ruling party men in eight districts on Tuesday. At least 37 crude bombs were also exploded in Gazipur and Satkhira districts, and 15 vehicles were vandalised in separate places of Sylhet and Gaibandha districts during the clash. In Rajshahi, a Chhatra Shibir activist was shot to death in a clash with Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members at Kajla adjacent to Rajshahi University (RU) on Saturday afternoon. The deceased was identified as Rashedul Haque Rantu. Witnesses said activists of RU unit Shibir were going to Talaimari in the city in a procession to participate in a rally of Matihar thana unit of the BNP-led 18-party alliance. As the procession reached Kajla gate, Rab members intercepted it. Being resisted, the Shibir men pelted the elite force members with brickbats, triggering a clash. At one stage, Rab men opened fire on the Shibir activists, leaving Rantu bullet wounds. He was rushed to Islami Bank Medical College Hospital where he died after some time. Meanwhile, 10 activists of the 18-party alliance, including Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) councillor Ashraf Hossain Bachchu, sustained bullet wounds in another clash with cops in Talaimari area in the afternoon. Witnesses said police intercepted a procession of the opposition alliance in the RU area. Being resisted, the activists attacked the cops, forcing the law enforcers to lob rubber bullets and teargas shells, leaving 10 people, including Bachchu, injured. In Natore, at least 15 people, including district unit Swechchhasebak Dal vice-president Asaduzzaman Asad, were injured in a clash between cops and opposition activists in the district town in the afternoon. Witnesses said the clash ensued when police obstructed a procession brought out by the local 18-party activists in support of the 60-hour hartal beginning at 6am on Sunday. In Khulna, at least 12 people, including Jubo Dal leader Jamal Hossain, were injured in a clash between BNP men and police in Mahshin intersection under Daulatpur Police Station in the city in the afternoon. The clash ensued as police charged baton on the BNP activists to foil their procession. The injured were admitted to different clinics of the city. Police arrested Tariqul Islam, senior joint secretary of city unit BNP, from the spot. In Bagerhat, eight activists of BNP-Jammat were injured as police charged baton on them to disperse them when they brought out a procession in Mongla upazila in the afternoon. Officer-in-charge of Mongla Police Station M Aminul Islam said the BNP-Jamaat men brought out the sudden procession in support of 60-hour hartal in the municipality area of the town at about 5pm. The clash erupted as police charged baton on the procession as the BNP-Jamaat men attacked on police, said the OC. In Sylhet, 10 people were injured as activists of Swechchhasebak Dal and Chhatra Dal clashed with police in the Court Point area of the city in the afternoon. Police fired six rounds of teargas shells to bring the situation under control. Later, unruly activists of BNP’s two associate wings vandalised one bus, four auto-rickshaws and one motorcycle in Bandar Bazar area of the city. In Gaibandha, four people were injured in a clash between activists of Chhatra League and Islami Chhatra Shibir in Gobindaganj upazila in the evening. Eight motorcycles were vandalised and another was torched during the melee. In Gazipur, at least 25 crude bombs were exploded in different places of Tongi under the city and Sadar upazila on Saturday. The explosions occurred at Cherag Ali, College Gate, Shibbari intersection, bus stand and in front of BNP office and Jamaat office. Miscreants also blasted several crude bombs at gate of the house of MP from Gazipur-1 and district unit Awami League president Advocate AKM Mozammel Haque and in Chhayabithi area of the city at about 8pm. No one was injured in this connection, said MP Mozammel Haque. In Satkhira, Shibir activists blasted at least 12 crude bombs from a sudden procession brought out by them in Itagachhahat intersection of the town at about 8pm. In Netrakona, BNP activists vandalised several CNG-run auto-rickshaws during their procession supporting hartal in Kurpar area of the district town in the afternoon. Later, local Awami League activists brought a procession and torched BNP office in Chhota Bazar area. The Awami League activists blasted several crude bombs in front of the house of the district Sadar upazila unit BNP president Mujibur Rahman near the party office at that time. In Comilla, local Awami League men vandalised the BNP’s office in Monaharganj upazila in the afternoon as BNP activists attacked local Awami League office on Friday that left 50 people injured. Officer-in-charge of Monaharganj Police Station M Jalil Ahmed said local Awami League men brought out a procession in the upazila headquarters at about 3pm and later they vandalised and torched the local BNP office. – UNB

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