BNP Barishal rally: Three-wheelers now join strike bandwagon
Three-wheeler workers in Barishal have now called for a two-day strike till November 5, when the BNP is scheduled to hold its rally in the city.
Earlier, the bus owners there declared a strike from November 4 to 5.
The two organisations -- bus owners and three-wheeler workers -- declared the strikes demanding administrative actions against each other.
The bus owners demanded the removal of unauthorised three-wheelers from roads, while the three-wheeler workers wanted an "end to the harassment by bus owners".
However, BNP leaders think the strikes are only meant to foil its November 5 rally.
On October 24, Barishal District Bus Malik Group submitted a memorandum to the Barishal divisional commissioner, stating it would hold the strike if unauthorised three-wheelers are not removed from the highways by November 3.
Six days later, Barishal Zilla Mishuk-Baby Taxi-Taxi Car and CNG-run Three-Wheeler Sramik Union called for the strike to press home their five-point demand, including an "end to harassment by bus owners".
The announcement was made on October 30 through a press statement, signed by its President Kamal Hossain Mollah and General Secretary Mushfiqur Rahman Dulal.
In the statement, the organisation urged all to suspend operations of three-wheelers on all routes of Barishal from November 4 to 5.
Meanwhile, Moniruzzaman Faruk, convener of Barishal city unit BNP, said, "The government is playing a key role in enforcing the strikes, with a target to foil our rally. But its ill-attempts will not be successful. Thousands of our partymen will join the rally on November 5."
The BNP yesterday got verbal permission from the Barishal district administration to hold the rally at the city's Bangabandhu Udyan.
"We have given them [BNP] verbal permission to use Bangabandhu Udyan for their rally. Now, they can start the preparatory work," Jashim Uddin Haider, deputy commissioner of Barishal, told The Daily Star last evening.
Complications had earlier risen over the BNP's seeking permission for the rally venue, as the party did not use the venue's official name.
The party sought permission to rally in the city's "Bell Park", which was renamed Bangabandhu Udyan 26 years ago by the then Awami League government.
In another development, at least six BNP activists were injured in an attack allegedly by Jubo League men in Ujirpur upazila's Ichaldi Bus Stop area yesterday morning. The BNP men were distributing leaflets of the November 5 rally.
A constable of the district's Special Branch of police was also hurt when he tried to bring the situation under control, said Kamrul Hasan, officer-in-charge of Ujirpur Police Station.
The BNP has been holding rallies in the divisional cities to protest the price hike of essentials. Transport strikes were also called ahead of its recent rallies in Mymensingh, Khulna, and Rangpur.
The party maintains that these strikes are part of an attempt by the ruling AL to keep its supporters from taking part in the rallies.
About the allegations, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Information Minister Hasan Mahmud in separate programmes on October 27 said the ruling party had nothing to do with the strikes as the transport associations are "independent".
However, according to reports, almost all the top leaders of the transport associations that called the strikes are either of the ruling party or are supporters of its allies.