The main opposition BNP and its ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami have called a two-day blockade starting today to press home their one-point demand for resignation of the Awami League government.
Unidentified people set fire to four minibuses at different places in Gulistan, Elephant Road, New Market and Saidabad on Saturday night ahead of the blockade, said officials of Fire Service and Civil Defence.
The BNP called the two-day blockade on Thursday after the end of the three-day blockade and a dawn-to-dusk hartal on October 29, protesting at the police and ruling party attack on the BNP’s grand rally on October 28.
Jamaat and other political parties and alliances, including Ganatantra Mancha, followed BNP to announce that they would also hold the blockade programme simultaneously.
The hartal and blockade programmes were marked by violence that left several people killed and many others injured.
At least 13 people, including a police member and a journalist, have been killed in violent clashes since October 28.
BNP at the latest alleged that party activist Biplob Hasan Bipul of Munshiganj died on Friday at a hospital where he was undergoing treatment after being injured in a police teargas shell and sound grenade on October 28.
At a virtual press conference, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi criticised prime minister Sheikh Hasina for not facilitating an election under the caretaker government despite claiming to have people on her side.
“A few days ago, she said in foreign media that the people are her main strength. So why are you not giving elections under a non-partisan government by resigning yourself for a fair election? If the people are with them, why are they are afraid of coming to power by holding free, participatory, and competitive elections under a neutral government,” Rizvi asked.
“Bangladesh is now in a terrible situation like 1971. The Awami League government is exactly copying the violence and misrule of the Pakistani forces of 1971. Like their peace committee, the Awami League is now holding a peace rally. If the invading forces had not found the freedom fighters, they would have captured their families. Awami police are also following that example,” he said.
Rizvi said in his written statement that the Awami League wanted to destroy democracy-loving people under the poisonous claws of fascism.
“PM says if anyone is caught, the person should be thrown into that fire. The threat of throwing BNP leaders and activists into the terrible coil of fire of the prime minister is a terrible apocalypse threat. This is a big danger signal for the entire nation” he said.
He said that the police continued harassing BNP leaders and activists by raiding the houses of opposition leaders at night, even if they were not at home.
The ruling Awami League said that activists of the party and its associate bodies would remain extra vigilant on the streets, apparently to counter the opposition’s countrywide blockade.
AL Dhaka North City president Sheikh Bazlur Rahman said they would resist BNP-Jamaat if they tried to implement the blockade and create any harm to people’s lives and property.
“If anyone is caught red-handed doing arson, we will hand over the person to the police. No one would be allowed to create anarchy. We will remain more vigilant,” he added.