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Two killed, stray incidents mark first day blockade

Staff Reporter:

The first day of the nationwide three-day road-rail-waterway blockade, enforced by the BNP and like-minded opposition parties, was marked by stray incidents of violence, including clashes with police and torching vehicles, leaving two persons dead in Kishoreganj yesterday.
The blockade that started at 6am on Tuesday will end at 6 pm on Thursday.
The opposition leaders and activists were seen taking positions on different roads across the country, in-cluding in the capital, to enforce the blockade. They also engaged in clashes with the law enforcers in different districts.
According to the reports reaching the news desk, two people were killed and at least 20 including 10 policemen sustained injuries in a three-way clash among Awami League, BNP activists and police at Chausuti bus stand area of Kishoreganj’s Kuliarchar upazila on Tuesday morning.
The deceased were identified as Billal Mia, 30, son of Kajal Mia, and Refayet Ullah, 20, son of Kausar Mia, both residents of Chausuti Union.
BNP National Executive Committee Co-organizing Secretary and Kishoreganj district BNP President Shariful Alam claimed that the two deceased were BNP activists, and that they were killed in “police firing.”
In a statement, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi called for immediately handing over the bodies of Refayet Ullah and Billal Mia to their families and strongly condemned their killing by “police firing.”
Meanwhile, six vehicles were torched across the country. Of them, three buses torched in Chattogram, two pick-up vans in Narayanganj and a bus near the High Court in Dhaka during the blockade pro-gramme.
In the capital, four policemen were injured in a clash between police and leaders and activists of BNP at Matuail in the morning.
Some crude bombs were exploded during the incident.
In Narayanganj, miscreants set two pick-up-vans on fire on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway at Madanpur Dewanbagh Gate in Narayanganj district on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, 20 people including three policemen were injured in a clash involving BNP, Awami League activists and police at Pachrukhi in Araihazar upazila of the district.
They also vandalised two vehicles including a BRTC bus, passing through the area.
In Chattogram, miscreants set fire to a bus at Saltgola area in the Port City around 6am and two others at Dampara Bus counter and Oxygen-Hathazari road on Monday night and early yesterday, said Rubel Hawladar, officer-in-charge of Khulshi Police Station.
No long route buses left Chattogram district on Tuesday during the first day of a three-day blockade im-posed by the opposition.
Police arrested fourteen picketers from the Akbar Shah City Gate area in the afternoon, said Waliullah Akbar, officer-in-charge of Akbar Shah Police Station.
They also vandalised 10-12 vehicles from City Gate to Pakkar Matha.
In Manikganj, at least five BNP activists were arrested and 10 sustained injuries following a clash be-tween them and police at Seota Manra area.
Manikganj Sadar Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Abdur Rouf Sarker said BNP leaders and activ-ists threw bricks at the police, and police fired empty bullets to bring the situation under control.
Five people were arrested from the spot, he added.
Nearly 100 people were arrested from different parts of the country.
Picketers also blocked roads by placing logs and burning tyres in different parts of the country in the morning. But the road communication came to normal after police interventions.
Vehicular movement on the city streets was almost normal during the period.
BNP and like-minded opposition parties enforced the blockade to mount pressure on the Awami League government to quit and hold the next election under a non-party, neutral administration.
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami also enforced the blockade simultaneously from this morning to Thursday evening with the same demands.
Apart from BNP and Jamaat, the 12-party alliance, Jatiyatabadi Samamona Jote, LDP, Gonoforum and People’s Party, Gonotantrik Bam Oikya, Gono Odhikar Parishad, Labour Party and NDM are also ob-serving the programme separately.
Meanwhile, AL has vowed to resist any violence during the blockade.
After observing a day-long hartal, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Sunday evening announced the countrywide blockade for three consecutive days.
He, however, said vehicles of newspapers or media, ambulances and vehicles transporting oxygen cylin-ders and medicines will remain out of the purview of the three-day blockade.

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