12:00 AM, September 21, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 21, 2011

Hartal called for tomorrow

BNP, allies cite 3 reasons

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Staff Correspondent

BNP and its allies called for a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal tomorrow to protest price hike of fuel, the share market scam and repression on opposition leaders and activists.
The main opposition party will also stage demonstrations and bring out processions today over the same issues at the party's central office in Naya Paltan.
Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Jatiya Party called for tomorrow's hartal through separate statements. A few other political parties and organisations also protested the price hike of fuel and urged the government to withdraw its decision, considering the impact it is having on the people.
On Sunday, the government raised prices of diesel, kerosene, petrol and octane by Tk 5 a litre, and of furnace oil by Tk 8, with effect from Sunday midnight. The price of compressed natural gas (CNG) was also raised a day later by Tk 5 per unit with effect from Monday midnight.
BNP late Monday night decided to call for the hartal in an emergency meeting with its chief Khaleda Zia in chair at her Gulshan office.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, acting secretary general of BNP, made the call for the hartal during a media briefing at its central office yesterday.
“The government increased fuel prices for the third time which is nothing but a joke to the people as the fuel price is already beyond their purchasing capacity,” Mirza Alamgir said, adding that price of CNG has increased 20 percent after just 60 days.
Replying to a query, Alamgir said it was the police not Jamaat men who were responsible for Monday's clashes and demanded release of arrested Jamaat leaders including its Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam.
BNP leaders Tariqul Islam, Aman Ullah Aman, Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu were present at the media briefing.
Meanwhile, Jamaat acting Amir Maqbul Ahmed called for the hartal through a statement. He demanded release of its leaders and protested the price hike of fuel.
Asked why the party announcement was made by a statement, a Jamaat office assistant told The Daily Star that after Monday night's crackdown on Jamaat men, they are not in a position to hold any press conference.
Bangladesh Jatiya Party President Andaleeve Rahman Partho and Secretary General Shamim Al Mamun in a joint statement urged the country to observe the hartal tomorrow.
Islami Oikya Jote also expressed solidarity towards tomorrow's hartal in a press release yesterday.
Meanwhile, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal held a rally and brought out procession yesterday demanding withdrawal of the new fuel prices while Sramik Kormochari Oikya Parishad leaders in a joint statement urged the government to reconsider its decision as fuel prices were increased only three months ago.
BNP and its political partners had called for hartals on July 6, 7 and 8 demanding the cancellation of the 15th constitutional amendment and reinstatement of the caretaker government system. Their first general strike programme was held on June 27, 2010 after the Awami League led government assumed power in January 2009.
Home Minister Shahara Khatun yesterday said the government will tolerate anarchy in the name of hartal no more and will go tough on picketers.
She said Jamaat-e-Islami cadres on Monday attacked and injured 40 policemen and torched vehicles as they were trying to push the country into anarchy.
“BNP is abusing the democratic tool like hartal only to foil the trials of war crimes, 10-truck arms haul case, August 21 grenade attack case and to save Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman,” she said after attending a programme.
Meanwhile, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif yesterday alleged that the main opposition BNP called for the hartal to hinder the trial of crimes against humanity, not to protest the fuel price hike.
Addressing a rally on city's Bangabandhu Avenue, he also alleged that BNP was also involved in the attack on police Monday alongside Jamaat-e-Islami.

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