Bangladesh opposition strike enters 2nd day
Dhaka: The 60-hour nationwide opposition strike, demanding a neutral caretaker government to oversee the next general elections in Bangladesh, entered into second day today, even as the death toll in violence rose to four.
TV reports said nine people were injured as activists of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) attacked a passenger train in northwestern Bogra, forcing police to use batons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the mob.
In Dhaka, the protesters exploded at least nine crude bombs at Karwan Bazar area where main offices of most of the private TV channels are located.
So far four persons have been killed and nearly 50 injured in the violence. The casualties were reported from northwestern Lalmonirhat and Natore, southeastern Chittagong and suburban Savar. Two of the victims were ordinary people a truck driver and a factory worker - while the rest two were reported to be opposition activists.
The opposition enforced the strike defying a government request to postpone it to allow students to appear in the examinations and accept the offer for dialogue to devise ways to settle dispute over the electoral system.
BNP yesterday said that it would not go to elections under the proposed "all party government" while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the interim all-party government was expected to be formed in next weeks.
"The existing cabinet members will resign first to pave ways for constituting the all-party government in next 15 days," a premier`s spokesman quoted her telling a cabinet meeting late yesterday.
The Election Commissioner, meanwhile, said it planned to announce a schedule for the elections without fixing a definite date as it preferred to wait for the "maximum possible time" allowing the two major parties to settle their disputes over the electoral system.
"But the polls will have to be conducted within January 24, so not much time is available," chief election commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin told newsmen two days ago.
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