REF: The nationwide whole-day strike called by the BNP-led 18-Party alliance started at 6am on Wednesday amidst tight security.
Police was seen deployed in some numbers at all key points of Dhaka after bombs were lobbed at Foreign Minister Dipu Moni’s residence and two vehicles were set on fire on Tuesday.
Some explosions were reported from the Azimpur area.Inter-city traffic was thin early morning, but picked up as the day progressed.Rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and some public buses were seen plying streets, but few private cars were seen.
Long route buses were grounded at Mohakhali, Gabtoli and Sayedabad terminals. But trains operated normally, Kamalapur Railway Station Manager Mohammad Khairul Bashir said.Meanwhile, the BNP Naya Paltan headquarters were seen encircled by police.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Motijheel zone Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mehedi Hassan said they were ready for tough action at the slightest hint of trouble.
“Plaincloth sleuths have been deployed to watch out for trouble-makers,” said Dhaka Metropolitan Detective Police Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam.
The strike was called after an 18-Party alliance meeting at BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office on Monday night to demand withdrawal of cases against the party’s Senior Vice Chairperson Tarique Rahman.
Junior Home Minister Shamsul Hoque Tuku said the strike was no democratic action but in support of a ‘criminal and corrupt’ Tarique Rahman.
BNP have threatened more strikes if the cases were not withdrawn.
Tarique, lying low for a while, was back in the headlines after campaigning for a caretaker administration for parliament polls during a function in East London on May 20.
He called upon expatriate Bangladeshis to mount pressure on the government on the issue and that attracted severe criticism from the Awami League.
On Sunday, a Dhaka court issued a warrant of arrest against Tarique Rahman on a money laundering case and said the Interpol will be asked to execute it to bring the BNP leader back for trial from London, where he currently resides.
BNP rubbished the court order as ‘politically motivated’.