Violence mars BNP strike protesting split of Dhaka

The parliament last week passed into law a bill seeking to split Dhaka in the house being boycotted by the opposition.

Last Updated: Dec 04, 2011, 15:59 PM IST

Dhaka: Violence broke out during a BNP strike against a Bangladesh government decision to divide the 400- year-old capital into two zones, as the protesters burned vehicles and police retaliated with batons injuring eight, during the `hartal` which affected normal life.

Ex-mayor of just split Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Sadek Hossain Khoka was detained briefly as clashes erupted between riot police and activists as he led the protests at old part of Dhaka where the protesters torched a police van and a motorbike.

Television footage showed armed policemen escorting Khoka
and later whisked away in a prison van while a police
spokesman said he was detained for his "own safety"
during clashes but was freed after an hour.

Witnesses said at least a dozen opposition activists were
detained from the downtown court complex as they hurled
brickbats at police, who retaliated with batons and tear gas
canisters. Eight protesters were injured, according to

"Nearly 100 tear gas shells were lobbed as the
pro-opposition lawyers joined the BNP activists bringing out
processions at the court complex," a photojournalist who
witnessed the clash said.

Schools, big shopping malls and businesses were shut
while traffic was very thin on the street with most transport
operators and private car owners preferred to stay off the
road during the day-long stoppage across the capital
Dhaka as police with riot vans and elite anti-crime Rapid
Action Battalion (RAB) men kept a sharp vigil.

Meanwhile, BNP`s acting general secretary Fakhrul Islam
Alamgir told newsmen at the Nayapaltan party office alleged
that nearly 100 of their workers were arrested and warned that
such actions by ruling Awami League would only intensify the
anti-government campaign.

The government, meanwhile, appointed today two
bureaucrat "administrators" for the two city corporations
while an official order said mayoral elections to the split
municipal bodies would be held in next 90 days.

The parliament last week passed into law a bill seeking
to split the capital in the house being boycotted by the
opposition and President Zillur Rahman gave his assent to
the law on Thursday.