BNP-led hartal hits life in Bangladesh
Dhaka, Mar 7 : The nationwide day-long hartal (strike) called by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 18-party opposition alliance on Thursday disrupted normal life in the country including capital Dhaka.
Khaleda Zia's BNP-led oppostion has called the strike to protest police attacks on its scheduled demonstration on Wednesday.
In Dhaka, the police arrested four female lawmakers of BNP at around 10:30 am.
They were arrested in front of the party's Nayapaltan headquarters in the city.
"The MPs - Rehana Akhter Ranu, Syeda Asifa Ashrafi Papiya, Rasheda Begum Hira and Shammi Akhter - tried to resist the arrest prompting a brief scuffle with female police on the road. They were later taken to a waiting police van and driven out. No reason for the arrests was available," The Independent reported.
Strike supporters blasted cocktails and home-made bombs near Mirpur, Malibagh, Razarbag, Sangsad Bhaban and Shonir Akhra areas of the capital.
Some protesters who tried to stage a march in the city in support of the strike were dispersed by the police.
While most of the shops remained closed in the city, garments factories and some business establishments remained open, local media reports said.
Defying the strike, some schools and colleges remained open in Dhaka.
According to reports, a Jubo League activist was killed and several others were injured in Bholahat area of Chapainawabganj district when violent clashes broke out between BNP and ruling Awami League supporters.
In Comilla, part of the railway track near Daulatganj station on Luksham-Noakhali route was set on fire by strike supporters, suspending train movement on the section for a brief period.
Strike supporters blasted a cocktail when the police were dispersing a procession of BNP workers at Pahartali area in Chittagong city.
No injury was reported in the explosion.
Strike supporters torched a bus in Uttara House Building area.
Violence broke out in the country since last Thursday after Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death by a tribunal for several crimes like mass killings, torture, rape and looting and forcible religious conversion during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 when the country attained freedom from Pakistan after a bloody struggle that left countless dead and thousands of women outraged.
The violence in Bangladesh has claimed 80 lives so far.
The Bangladesh government has said it is considering the demand to ban the Jamaat-e-Islami that has triggered violent protests across the country since Feb 28.
Speaking on the demand to ban Jamaat, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told media: "The government will definitely consider it."