Dhaka, (The Daily Star): In a bid to keep people off the streets, pickets blasted crude bombs and carried out vandalism in different parts of the capital on Sunday during the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance-called countrywide daylong hartal.
The opposition combined enforced the shutdown demanding restoration of the caretaker government system, unconditional release of its leaders and protesting a “ban” on rallies.
Violence has been reported from Panthapath, Tejgaon, Mohammadpur, Malibagh, Moghbazar, Rampura, and Shahbagh areas.
A number of handmade bombs were exploded in Adabar area of Mohammadpur, Tejgaon, Shahbagh, Gabtoli and Uttara areas.
The pro-hartal activists vandalised several vehicles in different parts of the city including Panthapath and Mirpur-10 roundabout.
They also brought out several processions in Motijheel, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Gabtoli and Jatrabari areas of the capital.
Law enforcers rounded up two activists of Sramik Dal with four crude bombs from Tejgaon area around 8:30am.
Huge contingents of police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) were deployed at all the key points of the capital to maintain law and order during hartal hours.
The presence of vehicles including buses and CNG-run three-wheelers on the city thoroughfares is more than other hartal, our correspondents reported.
Most private cars kept off the streets fearing vandalism and the shutters of shopping malls and roadside shops remained down.
BNP CENTRAL OFFICE
Like other hartal days, law enforcers remain on guard the BNP’s head office since early morning.
Shamsuzzaman Dudu, an adviser to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia held a press conference at 10:00am in the party office defending their hartal decision.
He also demanded restoration of the caretaker government system for the sake of holding a free and fair national elections.
The BNP leader warned the government that BNP would not participate in the elections if the caretaker government system was not restored.
The alliance and its key component Jamaat-e-Islami have already enforced four nationwide hartals this month protesting “police atrocities” on Hefajat-e Islam activists on May 5 in Dhaka and the capital punishment to Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for war crimes.
On May 19, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam had made confusing statements on the “ban” on rallies and meetings. Their statements prompted widespread criticism from a cross section of people.
The home minister said the government would not permit any meeting or demonstration in Dhaka for an indefinite period to avoid anarchy.
However, Ashraf said, “The ban on political meetings across the country would remain in force for a month to ensure smooth relief and rehabilitation activities in the Mahasen-ravaged areas.”