Ref: The first day of the 60-hour countrywide shutdown, enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance, was marked by incidents of violence, clashes, vandalism and crude bomb blasts across the country, leaving at least five people killed.
The five people — one BNP leader, a Swechchhasebak Dal leader, one Jubo League man, one Awami League activist and a Jamaat activist — were killed in violence in Faridpur, Jessore, Pirojpur, Bogra and Pabna districts during the hartal hours till 6pm on Sunday.
According to reports reaching the UNB news desk, Swechchhasebak Dal leader Maruf Sheikh, 20, was killed in police firing at Nagarkanda upazila in Faridpur while Jubo League leader Alamgir Hossain Shimul, 35, was beaten to death by hartal supporters at Noapra in Abhaynagar upazila in Jessore, Jamaat activist Julhasuddin Munnaf, 35, was killed in an attack by ruling party men at Ishwardi upazila in Pabna, Awami League activist Swapan Shil, 38, was beaten to death by hartal pickets at Zianagar upazila in Pirojpur and BNP activist Shajahan Ali, 38, was killed in factional clash in Bogra over hartal picketing.
Besides, at least 135 vehicles were damaged, several hundred crude bombs blasted and around 450 people injured across the country. The law enforcers also arrested over 150 opposition activists during hartal hours on the first day.
Deputy Commissioner (Media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masudur Rahman told UNB that 41 people were arrested for their involvement in hartal violence and 11 of them were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment each.
He also said that five vehicles were vandalised and eight torched in the capital till 7pm on Sunday.
In the capital, there were incidents of chases and counter-chases between police and hartal supporters in the city’s Gabtolli, Dhanmondi, Jatrabari, Khilgaon, Tejgaon, Shyamoli, Badda, Azimpur,Moghbazar and Mirpur areas.
Besides, the hartal pickets also blasted over 40 crude bombs at different parts of the capital during the first day hartal that began at 6am on Sunday.
Educational institutions and most shopping malls remained closed, but government and non-government offices in the capital were open with thin attendance.
City commuters largely used rickshaws and auto-rickshaws as the presence of motorised vehicles on the streets was much lesser unlike any other hartal days. No long-route bus left Mohakhali, Saydabad and Gabtoli terminals since the morning fearing vandalism.
The shutdown caused immense sufferings to people, mainly the commuters, in the capital for lack of transportation.
Many office-goers were seen waiting for public transport at different city points, including Malibgah, Mogbazar and Shantinagar.
The normal life of the day-labourers and low-income people is also being affected seriously as they had to pass their days amid unbearable hardship for lack of work.
Huge law enforcers guarded the city streets to avoid any untoward incident.
A large number of law enforcers were deployed in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
Though there was huge number of policemen in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, they did not obstruct any party leaders from entering the office unlike any other hartal days.
Vandalising of vehicles, clashes between hartal pickets and police and ruling party men and arrest of opposition activist, explosion of crude bombs were also reported from Khulna, Chandpur, Lalmonirhat, Kishoreganj, Jhenidah, Feni, Gazipur, Savar, Natore, Bogra, Pirojpur, Satkhira, Laxmipur, Habiganj, Mymensingh, Kushtia, Jamalpur, Chapainawabganj, Bhola, Bagerhat, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Sirajganj and Netrakona.
Meanwhile, addressing at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office about the first-day of hartal, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said police arrested over 600 opposition activists across the country while more than 1,500 were injured in attacks by law enforcers and ‘ruling party cadres’.
Over 15,000 opposition men were implicated in fresh ‘false’ cases and 12 activists sentenced to six months’ imprisonment by mobile courts, he further claimed.
The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance enforced the nonstop 60-hour countrywide hartal at 6:00 am on Sunday demanding formation of a non-party polls-time cabinet.