Hartal from 6am to 2pm today
The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance is enforcing an eight-hour countrywide hartal from 6:00am today protesting against the arrest of BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and demanding restoration of the caretaker government system.
The BNP and its allies yesterday staged demonstrations in all municipalities, upazilas, and districts across the country and urged people to make today's hartal a success.
The main opposition also warned the ruling party leaders of â€œpublic curfewâ€, and said it should not be long when the ministers would not be able to go outside their homes.
â€œPeople will siege the houses of ministers and ruling party leaders,â€ said Tariqul Islam, coordinator of the opposition's agitation programmes, at a press briefing in BNP central office in the capital's Nayapaltan area.
He also claimed that the government had filed the case against Fakhrul using fake signature of a city corporation driver, who was on leave during Tuesday's hartal.
At least eight vehicles were set ablaze in the capital last night ahead of today's hartal. One of the vehicles was a bus that used to ferry policemen. It was torched at Bangla Motor intersection. Several homemade bombs also went off in Dhaka last night.
Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir has meanwhile vowed to resist the shutdown.
â€œThose who are enforcing hartal and blockade are the nation's enemy. Khaleda Zia and her allies are doing these only to protect the war criminals,â€ said the home minister while addressing a programme on Bangabandhu Avenue yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Thakurgaon district BNP yesterday enforced a six-hour hartal demanding release of Mirza Fakhrul, who was arrested on Monday and sent to Kashimpur jail yesterday. Local units of the party also brought out processions in many districts protesting the arrest.
In Barisal, at least 30 people including an assistant police commissioner and five cops were injured in a clash between police and pro-hartal activists yesterday around 4:30pm, reports our correspondent.
Police charged batons, lobbed teargas canisters and fired rubber bullets to disperse the activists. At least four BNP activists were arrested from the spot.
In Mymensingh, at least 15 people were injured as the supporters of the opposition alliance clashed with police in the town yesterday evening.
The clash had erupted around 5:30pm when police blocked a pro-hartal procession in front of Mymensingh Zila School, reports our district correspondent quoting Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Kotwali Police Station Abu Fazlul Karim.
The opposition activists retaliated by pelting the police with brick chips prompting the law enforcers to use teargas and fire rubber bullets, said the OC, adding that they had picked up six people from the spot.
Meanwhile, drivers and cleaners of Dhaka City Corporation are reluctant to work during hartal hours fearing attack and assault by the pro-hartal activists.
â€œGarbage trucks are being vandalised while drivers are assaulted during political programmes. The city service might be hampered if this trend continues,â€ said Dhaka South City Corporation in a press release.
The corporation urged all to cooperate to ensure uninterrupted city service.
BNP LAMBASTS HANIF
The main opposition yesterday censured ruling Awami League leader Mahbubul Alam Hanif for his comment that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia would also be arrested and brought under trial.
â€œThink of your [Hanif] own protection. The people will bring you all under trial for corruption, killing and violence,â€ said Tariqul Islam, also a senior member of the BNP standing committee.
He said, â€œHanif was a shrimp trader and the vice president of Bheramara upazila Awami League. He was promoted as the joint general secretary of the party as he is a relative to the prime minister and now he is threatening Khaleda Zia. People will track him down and give him a good lesson.â€
Meanwhile, Rahat Ara Begum, wife of Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, yesterday demanded release of her husband saying the government had arrested him only to make the situation worse.
She was talking to journalists on the Kashimpur jail premises.
Meanwhile, Khaleda addressing the leaders of Muktijoddha Gonoparishad at her Gulshan office said, â€œThis government has failed and is incompetent. The country will be destroyed if we fail to oust the government from power.â€
At least 90 members of the organisation formally joined the BNP yesterday.
Referring to the killing of Biswajit Das by Chhatra League activists, the BNP chairperson said, "You have witnessed the way Biswajit has been murdered in public, but the killers are still at large. The Awami League is conducting the killings and filing [false] cases against opposition activists."
Tailoring shop owner Biswajit was beaten and hacked to death by Chhatra League activists in the capital on Sunday during the BNP-led opposition-sponsored countrywide road blockade programme.