Heavy security in Dhaka for Awami League's rally

Heavy security cover has been put in place in Bangladesh's capital ahead of ruling Awami League's scheduled rally in the city today to mark the first anniversary of the controversial polls amid heightened political tension and violence which has claimed 13 lives so far.=

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 12, 2015, 17:04 PM IST

Dhaka: Heavy security cover has been put in place in Bangladesh's capital ahead of ruling Awami League's scheduled rally in the city today to mark the first anniversary of the controversial polls amid heightened political tension and violence which has claimed 13 lives so far.=

Police and anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were patrolling Dhaka streets while administrative chiefs of different districts have sought deployment of paramilitary forces as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the rally in the capital amid nationwide blockade by opposition BNP.

State minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that intensified security vigil has been enforced with deployment of additional security forces particularly for protection of railway tracks and BGP troops have been called to join police and RAB in major cities.

Ahead of the Prime Minister's rally, suspected opposition activists set on fire a bus at downtown Gulistan while two bomb-like substances were found inside law books kept at two courtrooms in the High Court late yesterday.

"The substance appeared like improvised explosive devices, we are examining them," a police officer said.

Meanwhile, a large number of buses and cars today returned on the roads in Dhaka even as most of the inter-city buses remained off the road.

BNP's student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) today called a day-long general strike in 14 districts adjacent to Dhaka to protest the confinement of party chief Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office since January 5.

The government, however, called it a "self confinement" as part of a "political drama" and said she was free to return home with police escort while the extra security around her office was meant for her own protection.

Two more people succumbed to injuries last night, raising the toll in the nationwide protests to 13 since January 5 when the BNP chief called on her supporters to take to the streets against the first anniversary of Hasina's controversial re-election.

According to local media reports, 305 people, including 90 policemen, were injured, 105 vehicles were torched and 122 others damaged since the outbreak of the unrest.

Zia has asked supporters to enforce the transport blockade indefinitely until the government is toppled and new multi-party elections organised.

Zia's 20-party alliance boycotted last year's polls which were marred by deadly violence, claiming that the outcome would be rigged.

Authorities have also launched a crackdown on BNP, arresting hundreds of its activists.