The first day of the 48-hour nationwide hartal, enforced by the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance alongside its ongoing nonstop blockade program demanding cancellation of the Jan-5 election, was marked by the killing of a BNP man and widespread arson attacks on polling stations across the country on Saturday.
The shutdown, which began at 6am and will end at 6am on Monday, is also meant for registering the opposition’s protest against the reported confinement of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to her Gulshan residence.
Meanwhile, the nonstop road-rail-waterway blockade enforced by the opposition combine on Wednesday passed off its fourth day on Saturday.
In Lalmonirhat, a local leader of Swechchhasebak Dal was killed in a clash between Awami League and BNP activists at Shafirhat village in Patgram upazila in the morning.
The deceased, Mobarak Hosain, 32, was president of Baura union ward No 4 unit of BNP’s volunteer front and son of Altaf Hossain Munshi of the village.
Besides, at least 96 polling centers, set up mostly in schools, were set afire in different districts, including the capital, from Friday night to Saturday evening.
The arson attacks on polling centers were reported from Bogra, Laxmipur, Pabna, Netrakona, Kishoreganj, Feni, Brahmanbaria, Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Manikganj, Kushtia, Natore, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Moulvibazar, Jhenidah, Sherpur, Tangail, Kurigram, Naogaon, Sirajganj, Comilla, Gaibandha, Mymensingh, Khulna and Barguna districts.
Besides, opposition activists snatched and set fire to election materials, including ballot papers and boxes, in Chittagong and Gaibandha.
In the capital, miscreants set fire to a launch at Sadarghat Launch Terminal while exploded six crude bombs at the VIP terminal of the launch terminal and Moghbazar.
Anti-election activists vandalised a train at Ishwardi Railway Station in Ishwardi upazila, leaving 10 passengers injured.
In Magura, two people suffered burn injuries when blockade supporters set two trucks afire near Barnanduali Brac office in the town on Friday night.
In Satkhira, law enforcers recovered 3 kg of gunpowder and two bottles of acid from Bhomra Land port area in Sadar upazila.
According to reports, several vehicles were damaged, over 50 people injured in clashes between pickets and ruling party men, over 40 establishments, including educational institutions, vandalised and around 50 opposition men arrested in different districts, including Pabna, Kishoreganj and Jessore.
The opposition alliance has been on nonstop agitation programs since the Election Commission announced the election schedule on November 25 fixing the balloting date for January 5.
Hartal marks arson, violence; 1 killed