DHAKA, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — A protester was shot dead and a dozen others including cops injured in stray incidents of violence in the early hours of Bangladesh’s opposition enforced countrywide 60- hour non-stop hartal which begins on Monday morning.
Nasir Uddin, 24, a leader of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, the student wing of ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was killed and about a dozen people including cops were injured when police opened fire on the clashing activists of the ruling and the opposition men in Patgram sub-district of Lalmonirhat, some 343 km northwest of capital Dhaka.
The law enforcers were forced to open fire to bring the situation under control as the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party and the opposition BNP men fought pitched battles, said a Lalmonirhat police official who preferred to be unnamed.
Another Mostafizur Rahman Mukul, an auto-rickshaw passenger, succumbed to his injuries at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital Monday morning.
Mukul died of burn injuries 12 hours after miscreants hurled a petrol bomb on the vehicle in Savar on the outskirts of capital Dhaka ahead of the 60-hour countrywide hartal.
In pre-hartal violence Sunday, dozens of vehicles were reportedly set on fire and damaged fully or partially across Bangladesh. On account of the hartal, huge clashes between pro- hartal pickets and police backed by ruling Bangladesh AL party men have also been reported in parts of capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.
In capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the South Asian country, where hartal has become a very common phenomenon in the recent months, scores of cocktails and handmade bombs were exploded.
The hartal crippled the normal life and business transactions to large extent with many main markets and educational institutions closed.
Private cars were rarely seen on Dhaka roads but a large number of man-peddled rickshaws appeared in the usually bustling streets along with the presence of public transport including city buses.
Riot police shot rubber bullets and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse stone throwing pro-hartal activists who attempted to block roads and bring out procession along the major city streets, disrupting traffic.
But ruling party men brought out anti-hartal processions in different parts of the city.
Police reportedly detained dozens of opposition alliance men as they locked horns in chase and counter-chase with the law enforcers.
Bangladesh’s main opposition on Saturday called another round of nationwide non-stop 60-hour strike form Monday morning to press its demand for a non-party caretaker government to oversee the national elections slated for early 2014.
Earlier the opposition alliance observed a 60-hour countrywide strike from Oct. 27 morning amid violent clashes, vandalism, arson and bomb explosions.
Over a dozen people including the ruling and the opposition party men were dead and hundreds others injured in stray incidents of three-day hartal violence in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.
The two leading leaders of South Asian country’s politics held phone talks last Saturday, the first direct conversation between the two leaders of the South Asian country’s politics since January, 2009 when Hasina cabinet took oath of office.
Although both the parties are seeking dialogue to end impasse over the formation of the polls-time government, but no headway is being made so far.
Political tension in Bangladesh heightened in December after the 18-party opposition alliance geared up anti-government agitation programs, demanding restoration of the non-party caretaker government system.
Since June 2011 when Bangladesh Parliament abolished the non- party caretaker government system after an apex court verdict declared the 15-year-old constitutional provision illegal, the BNP- led alliance has been waging mass protests demanding for the reinstatement of the provision.
The scrapped provision mandated an elected government to transfer power to an unelected non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee a new parliamentary election on the completion of its term.
Political analysts have long been telling that there is no alternative but to reach consensus over the caretaker issue to avoid further serious confrontation.
The South Asian nation plunged into a major political crisis in late 2006 and it returned to democracy after two years of army- backed rule following a widely acceptable parliament elections in 2008 under caretaker government.
Since 1996, in the South Asian country the caretaker government has held elections in 1996, 2001 and 2008, which were recognized as free and fair by local and international observers.