Dhaka: Eight stalwarts of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party were sent to jail on Sunday after being refused bail in connection with cases filed against them for last month`s violence in the capital, prompting the party to call a 36-hour nationwide strike from April 9.
Three separate courts in Dhaka sent the eight leaders to jail, refusing their bail petition as they appeared in the docks after police filed a series of cases accusing them of vandalism during opposition street protests last month as part of their anti-government campaign.
Announcing the strike, BNP spokesman Salahuddin Ahmed strongly criticised the courts` decision and said, "The government has adopted the strategy of repressing the opposition to divert the peoples’ attention from its misdeeds and failures."
The development came a day after tens of thousands of supporters of a radical Muslim group today wrapped up a rally demanding stern punitive action against `atheist bloggers` under a blasphemy law.
Soon after the BNP`s strike call, suspected opposition activists set fire to five buses and cars in different parts of the capital prompting transport operators and owners to quickly withdraw their vehicles fearing violence.
The government in a simultaneous action ordered paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to patrol Dhaka streets to enforce a security vigil against vandalism.