Bus torched in Dhaka

2 buses torched in Dhaka

Passengers are rushing to get down from a bus that unidentified people set afire in New Market area of Dhaka Sunday morning. Photo: STAR/Akanda Muhammad Jahid

Alleged pickets torched two buses in Nikunjo and New Market area of Dhaka on the first day of 72-hour countrywide hartal (shutdown) enforced by the BNP-led-20 party alliance.

In Nikunjo, miscreants torched the bus around 10:40am, an official of Fire Service and Civil Defence told The Daily Star.

Our correspondent who is an eye witness in New Market arson attack said unidentified people set ablaze a bus of Safety Paribahan at 11:40am.

Locals and police doused the flames and none was hurt in fire incident.

Police detained eight activists of BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir in separate crackdowns in Dhaka.

They were all arrested from inside the city over charges of subversive activities for the last 24 hours, a text message from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police said this morning. Further details are awaited.

In another incident, staff found a table and portions of the office door were burnt at Jatiya Chhatra Samaj, student body of the main opposition of Jatiya Party (JP), office in Karail.

Unidentified miscreants set fire at the office premises around 4:00am, party presidium member Sunil Shuvo Roy told The Daily Star.

Meanwhile, a huge traffic jam was seen on Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue and Farmgate of Dhaka as people dared to come out of the houses defying the hartal.

The fresh spell of 72-hour hartal which starts from 6:00am today will continue till 6:00am Wednesday.

The hartal announcement has forced the government to postpone the SSC and equivalent tests scheduled for today and Tuesday.

Officials of the ministry said new dates for the exams will be announced later.

On top of the indefinite blockade since January 6, the alliance has been enforcing hartals since February 1, excluding Fridays and Saturdays, forcing the education ministry to reschedule exams every week.

On behalf of the 20-party alliance, BNP joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed, announced the shutdown programme yesterday in a statement to press home the alliance's various demands, including holding of a fresh election under a non-party administration.

The blockade and hartal has already claimed 83 lives, of which 66 people had no affiliation with any political party. Besides, 41 people were killed in “shootouts” with law enforcement agencies during the ongoing political turmoil, according to The Daily Star reports.

The country's top business chambers estimate daily loss of businesses at Tk 2,277 crore a day during the ongoing blockade.


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