Three die in poll-bound Bangladesh during opposition strike
Dhaka: At least three persons were killed and nearly 50 injured as violence on Monday rocked Bangladesh during a 60-hour countrywide opposition strike demanding a neutral caretaker government to oversee the next general elections, taking the overall death toll in political turmoil to 25.
Supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its rightwing ally Jamaat-e-Islami hurled bricks at vehicles and exploded crude bombs in the capital city of Dhaka as the strike got underway early this morning.
Incidents of clashes and arson were reported from other cities and districts, including Natore, Rajshahi, Comilla and Bogra.
Authorities deployed thousands of additional police and paramilitary personnel to maintain law and order during the second 60-hour strike called by the BNP within a week.
A member of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, BNP`s student wing, was killed when police opened fire on clashing cadres of the ruling Awami League and strike supporters in northern Lalmonirhat district. The incident injured 39 people, including 15 policemen.
A man died of injuries sustained when protesters hurled bricks at a truck carrying labourers in Natore district.
In the capital, an auto-rickshaw passenger died of burn injuries after miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at the vehicle. He succumbed to his injuries in Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Demonstrators stabbed a youth leader of the Awami League in Comilla city while two persons were injured when two crude bombs exploded at the Bogra Judge Court premises.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) seized five crude bombs from the house of a BNP youth leader at Savar in Dhaka district. In Dhaka, a mobile court sentenced four strikers to six months in jail.
The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance called the shutdown to press for the restoration of the neutral caretaker government system to oversee the next elections scheduled to be held by January 25, 2014.
RAB personnel joined riot police in patrolling city streets with water cannons and armoured carriers as the strike forced the suspension of nationwide secondary and higher secondary examinations, kept most private cars off the roads and big shopping malls shuttered.
However, state media claimed public life remained normal as people reported for work.
Twenty-five people have died in violence linked to political turmoil since October 25. Sixteen people were killed across Bangladesh in the last shutdown during October 27-29 and six more died in recent political unrest.
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