73 more injured during opposition strike in Bangladesh

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 19:34

Dhaka: At least 73 people were injured across Bangladesh while two bombs exploded near a BNP office here on the final day of a 60-hour strike by the opposition to press its demand for a caretaker regime to oversee the next general election.

Incidents of violence, clashes, vandalism and bomb blasts were reported from across the country. Over 100 were wounded in clashes yesterday.

Seven policemen were among the 73 people injured today. Twenty-three people were injured in clashes between members of the ruling Awami League and opposition BNP in Comilla.

In Chandpur, 50 people were injured in clashes. Two crude bombs exploded near the BNP headquarters at Naya Paltan in Dhaka. Nobody was injured in the blasts and 10 people were detained for questioning, police said.

Opposition Jamaat-e-Islami workers set afire rail lines at different areas of Narayanganj, briefly disrupting train services.

Police in Rajshahi city filed a case against 250 cadres of the BNP and its right-wing ally Jamaat-e-Islami for impeding policemen from discharging their duties and damaging vehicles.

The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance called the shutdown from November 4 to press for the restoration of the neutral caretaker government system to oversee the next election scheduled to be held by January 25, 2014.

This was the second 60-hour strike called by the BNP within a week. A total of 26 people have died in violence linked to political turmoil since October 25, and 16 were killed during the last shutdown in October.

Last month in her address to the nation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed an all-party government for election oversight. BNP chief Khaleda Zia rejected the proposal and floated a formula for creating a neutral poll-time caretaker regime.

Zia also ruled out the possibility of contesting polls if Hasina remained as head of the government.

The Awami League, which has a three-fourths majority in the outgoing parliament, scrapped the caretaker system by amending the Constitution two years ago.
It acted after the Supreme Court ruled that the system was contrary to the Constitution.

The BNP has repeatedly contended that polls will be fair only under a non-party government. But the Awami League insisted that the caretaker system had proved counter- productive as it was abused.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 19:34

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