Opposition strike leaves two dead in Bangladesh
Dhaka: At least two members of Bangladesh`s ruling Awami League were killed and a train was derailed in violence during the second day of a nationwide strike called by the country`s main opposition party.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies enforced the two-day strike to protest the arrest of their leaders and cadres in a recent police raid in its headquarters in the capital Dhaka.
Witnesses said an activist of the Awami League`s student front was beaten to death allegedly by rival activists at western Chuadanga while they stabbed to death another student worker of the ruling party in central Tangail.
They said dozens of people were injured in the countrywide clashes when police used rubber bullets and tear gas canisters against the activists of the BNP and its allies who torched or vandalised buses, attacked police with crude bombs and also clashed with the rival activists.
Officials said the train services between the capital and northeastern Syleht was suspended as protesters uprooted railway tracks on the major route, causing derailment in which some 15 passengers were injured.
"The engine and six bogies of the train veered off the tracks in Moulvibazar as slippers were removed from the tracks...We are trying to repair the lines as soon as possible," a railway spokesman said.
Sporadic incidents of arson, vandalism, clash and chase and counter-chase were also reported from northwestern Rajshahi, southeastern Chittagong, Chandpur, suburban Narayanganj, northern Mymensingh and southwestern Bagerhat districts.
Police said in Rajshahi, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial BNP ally, clashed with the law enforcement agencies using homemade bombs, injuring 30 people.
Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) patrolled Dhaka streets while elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and riot police enforced a security vigil in the capital where schools and most businesses were closed and traffic was thin on the streets fearing violence.
But opposition activists carried out several clandestine attacks on vehicles which defied the stoppage call and in most cases quickly fled the scenes to evade arrests.
Police said at least they arrested some 70 BNP activists in different districts to be charged for attacking police, vandalising or torching vehicles.
Police on March 11, had arrested BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam and freed him along with two other party stalwarts next day after the overnight detention but they charged 154 others for attacking police and disrupting public order exploding crude bombs.