Hartal eve sees 10 buses burnt | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 07, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 07, 2011

Hartal eve sees 10 buses burnt

2 hurt in blast at DU; Khaleda roots for hartal to 'help end public sufferings'

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Alleged supporters of today's countrywide hartal torch a bus near Matshya Bhaban intersection in the capital yesterday evening turning it into a charred wreckage.Photo: STAR

A handmade bomb exploded on Dhaka University campus and at least nine buses were set on fire in the capital on the eve of today's nationwide hartal enforced by the main opposition BNP, police say.
The bomb went off outside TSC injuring two students sitting there. The injured were Ruman Parveen Taslim, student of Central Women's College, and her friend Hasib Ahmed, Shahbagh police say.
The law-enforcers said pro-hartal activists torched at least 10 vehicles in other parts of the city and clashed with police.
The police blamed the violence on the supporters of the dawn-to-dusk hartal and detained several opposition activists for their alleged involvement in attacking the vehicles.
Clashes between hartal supporters and law-enforcers erupted also in Chittagong and Barisal. Some opposition activists were injured when police charged batons on them.
BNP called the hartal in protest against cases filed against its Chairperson Khaleda Zia over clashes erupted for the government's now-cancelled plan to build an international airport on Arial Beel, share market scandal and price hike of essentials.
The government has however decided to relocate the airport, while police said no cases were filed against Khaleda over the violence.
But Khaleda said cancellation of the airport project on Arial Beel is not enough to call off the hartal. Public sufferings like shortage of gas, water and electricity have to be resolved or more such programmes will be enforced, she said.
BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain has accused the government of trying to disrupt the hartal.
"We will go for non-stop hartal if the government tries to disrupt this hartal," he told a press conference at BNP's Naya Paltan office yesterday. "We will go for any programmes necessary to press home public demands."
Senior ruling Awami League lawmakers Tofail Ahmed and Suranjit Sengupta in parliament yesterday blasted BNP for calling the hartal terming it "unconstitutional and undemocratic".
Taking the floor on point of order, the two leaders accused BNP of trying to tarnish the country's image by calling such "illogical hartal without any issues".
CLASHES, VIOLENCE
Hartal supporters attacked and set fire to at least nine buses and a private car in Demra, Tongi, Farmgate, Mirpur, Kakrail and Shankar.
Mirpur police say they have detained Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal local unit joint secretary Awlad Hossain and Arif Hossain in this connection.
Meanwhile, the opposition leaders have decided to stay at 26 points in the city to make the hartal a success.
The party brought out processions and distributed leaflets drumming up support for the hartal, fourth since June last year.
BNP observed two other hartals in November over Khaleda's former house in cantonment and another in June last year.
Police and BNP activists yesterday locked into clashes that left 17 people including former mayor Mujibur Rahman Sarwar injured, reports Sushanta Ghosh from Barisal.
Police picked up eight people from the spot.
The clashes occurred when the opposition supporters tried to hold rallies at Aswani Kumar Hall premises in support of hartal.
Police also charged batons to disburse a rally organised by another former mayor Ahsan Habib Kamal in court area.
Meantime, Rab arrested Khorshed Alam, younger brother of DCC Ward-56 councillor Chowdhury Alam, at his Khilgaon residence with three hand bombs. Alam, also president of Ramna BNP unit, went missing in the capital on June 25 last year.
Police foiled pro-hartal processions in the port city as BNP activists locked into chase and counter chase with law-enforcers and damaged at least four vehicles, writes our staff correspondent in Chittagong.
BNP LAWMAKERS FORM HUMAN CHAIN
BNP lawmakers yesterday formed a human chain on the premises of the parliament demanding withdrawal of cases filed against Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia and others in connection with the proposed Bangabandhu International Airport at Arial Beel.
The opposition MPs lined up at the entrance of the parliament building in the morning for half an hour to voice their demand.
Addressing a rally after the human chain programme, Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque alleged that the government is filing cases against the BNP chief and party leaders which are preventing them from returning to the parliament.
The government's activities proved it does not want to make the parliament effective with the presence of opposition lawmakers, he alleged.
Asked when the opposition lawmakers will return to parliament, the opposition chief whip said they had planned to join the current session. But filing of the case obstructed them to go ahead with their plan, he alleged.
Among others, BNP lawmakers AKM Mosharaf Hossain, Zainul Abedin, ABM Ashraf Uddin Nizan, Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Annie, Rasheda Begum Hira, Syeda Asifa Ashrafi Papiya and Nilufar Chowdhury Moni took part in the human chain.
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami MP Hamidur Rahman also joined the human chain expressing his party's solidarity with the BNP's demand.
BUSINESS LEADERS
Business leaders yesterday heavily criticised today's hartal, reports BSS.
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Abdus Salam Murshedy said ,“Hartal always brings negative impact for a country's economy and it can never be an instrument to realise demands of political parties.”
President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Afif Ibrahim said the entire business community is against hartal.

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