Bangladesh declares bounty on arsonists to quell violence
Dhaka: Bangladesh on Monday announced a bounty of USD 1,000 for arsonists to control violent street protests by opposition parties that have claimed 127 lives across the country in the past month.
"Taka 1 lakh (USD 1,000) will be awarded to those who help police in arresting criminals when they try to set on fire or vandalise vehicles in Dhaka," Dhaka Metropolitan police said in a statement.
Taka 25,000 would be paid to persons who help in arresting criminals involved in attacks with crude bombs or petrol bombs. People can tip off police on telephone, the statement said.
The announcement came as the burn unit of the state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital said 18 patients had succumbed to their injuries since November 26 at the facility. A total of 24 violence victims are still being treated at the hospital.
Burn unit chief Samanta Lal Sen earlier demanded an end to incidents of arson during political violence, saying: "Being a doctor, I want an end to the humanitarian disaster."
The reward was announced hours after unidentified persons exploded two crude bombs in front of a Dhaka court, causing panic among people as a nationwide blockade by the opposition entered its third day today.
No one was injured by the blasts, police said.
The 18-party opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been enforcing nationwide blockades since November 26 to push its demand for postponement of the January 5 general election.
The opposition wants the installation of a non-party caretaker government for election oversight but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s Awami League has rejected the demand for being "unconstitutional".
The opposition has demanded that the polls should be shelved as more than half of the candidates are set to be elected unopposed to the 300-seat parliament in the absence of opposition candidates.
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