Dhaka: Bangladesh`s main opposition party
BNP Tuesday enforced a nationwide general strike to destabilise the government, a day after former prime minister Khaleda Zia`s petition to retain her Cantonment house in the capital
was rejected by the Supreme Court.
The Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) gave a
call for dawn-to-dusk strike as police in riot gears and
anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) patrolled the nearly
deserted streets of Dhaka.
Dozens of opposition activists were arrested as they
tried to stage rallies and marches in the city as the strike
was underway, BNP leaders and witnesses said.
Schools and most private offices and shopping
complexes remained shut while transport operators said they
kept suspended the inter-district bus services for "security
reasons" as the opposition`s second such strike came within a
span of two weeks.
Officials of the state-run railway and Inland Water
Transport Authority (BIWTA) said the `hartal` had little
impact on the movement of trains and ferry services though the
number of passengers were thin.
The strike call came a day after Zia lost her final
legal battle in retaining her posh house inside Cantonment
barracks where she lived from 1972, as the apex court rejected
her appeal petition though her contempt of court petition
against her November 13 "eviction" from the house was still
pending for hearing.
The strike also affected proceedings of the apex
court`s hearing of Zia`s contempt of court petition.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the apex Appellate
Division of the Supreme Court re-fixed the hearing date to
tomorrow "considering that the lawyers concerned would not be
able to attend the court due to the countrywide dawn-to-dusk
hartal" though the judges were present.
No major violence was reported during initial hours of
the strike but suspected opposition activists set on fire
several vehicles overnight apparently to create panic in
public mind on the eve of their planned strike, prompting
intensified security vigil against the pickets.
Nearly 50 opposition activists in the capital were
detained till 2 pm as they tried to create "chaotic
situations" to enforce the strike, police said.