12:46 AM, April 28, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:22 AM, April 28, 2013

18-party, lefts call hartal for May 2

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Staff Correspondent

The BNP-led 18-party alliance last night called a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal for May 2 to protest the “killings in Savar building collapse and the government failure to act against those responsible”.
The announcement followed back-to-back meetings of the BNP standing committee, and chiefs of the alliance components.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia presided over the meetings at her Gulshan office.
Earlier in the day, left parties called a countrywide daylong hartal for the same day to press for trial of those responsible for the building collapse in Savar and safe workplaces for the garment workers.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, and Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, a platform of seven left-leaning parties, called the strike at separate press conferences in the capital.
The 18-party alliance will also bring out a black-flag procession in the city on April 30 to mourn the Savar victims.
Besides, it will hold a grand rally in the city on May 4. The rally venue is yet to be finalised, said Moudud Ahmed, BNP standing committee member, while briefing reporters after the meetings.
“We will seek permission to hold the rally at Motijheel Shapla Chattar. If we don't get that, we will hold the rally at Kakrail intersection,” Moudud said.
The alliance leaders at their meeting demanded removal of Home Minister MK Alamgir for his “irresponsible comments” about the Savar building collapse on April 24.
About hartal, Moudud said the government's incompetence and failures were exposed through the “Savar killings”. The opposition has decided to enforce the shutdown to protest this.
“The Savar incident is not merely an accident. Rather, it was a case of killings. Jubo League leader Sohel Rana and local Awami League lawmaker Touhid Jong Murad are responsible for the cruel murders. Rana has managed to escape with the help of Murad Jong.”
He also said the 18-party leaders slammed the government for its “failures in the Savar rescue operation”.
At a press briefing at Topkhana Road, Gonotantrik Bam Morcha called the May 2 strike.
Its leaders asked the government to form an independent commission to identify all vulnerable factories.
They also asked the government to meet their demands by today.
On Wednesday morning, the building housing several garment factories came crashing down, a day after some cracks developed on its pillars and floors. So far, 344 bodies have been recovered from the rubble.
Owner of the building, Sohel Rana, also a leader of Jubo League, the ruling Awami League's youth wing, dismissed the risks and kept the building open for business.

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