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Public transport running in Dhaka, long-route buses off

Vehicles are out on the streets of Dhaka as usual but long distance buses have been grounded during Thursday’s 24-hour shutdown in Dhaka City and a dawn-to-dusk general strike in nine districts alongside a crippling countrywide blockade.

Islami Chhatra Shibir activists started a pro-strike rally at Mirpur on Thursday which was later dispersed by the police. No other agitation has been reported so far.

Police and RAB detachments were deployed at key points of the city to prevent any possible acts of sabotage.

A huge police posse was deployed in front of the BNP’s headquarters in Naya Paltan.

The BNP-led coalition called for the strike to protest against cases filed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, and the large scale arrest of its leaders and activists.

The BNP chief has been sued for ‘instigating’ arson attacks.

Vehicular movement inside the city was quite normal.

Although long-route buses were on during the non-stop blockade, services were stopped on Thursday morning due to the strike.

Darus Salam police OC Md Rafiqul Islam said although buses were running from Gabtoli to districts around the capital, long-distance services had been stopped.

Launch and rail services, however, remained normal, said authorities.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) transport inspector Newaz Md Khan said 35 launches from around the country docked at Sadarghat while five left the pier.

A railway official said on condition of anonymity that rail services were as usual as well.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who is leading the anti-government agitation demanding a snap general election, called the nonstop blockade after being barred to hold a rally on Jan 5, the first anniversary of the last general election.

At least 38 people have died in the 23 days of the violent transport blockade.