Explosions, processions mar strike in Dhaka
Published: 2013-08-13 09:37:22.0 BdST Updated: 2013-08-13 09:55:22.0 BdST
Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami took out sudden processions and exploded crude bombs at the start of the nationwide 48-hour general strike on Tuesday amid intensified security all over.
The strike has been called by the party to protest cancellation of its registration which may deny it the chance to contest parliament elections.
A huge posse of police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel were deployed at key points in Dhaka since early on Tuesday to prevent possible violence.
But activists of Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir took out a procession around 7am at Gulshan’s Shahjadpur and exploded at least four homemade bombs, RAB-1 commander Kismat Hayat said.
RAB detained one Ismail Hossain Babu, who was injured in the explosions.
Jamaat and Shibir activists took out processions at Kalyanpur and Jatrabarhi around 6:30am in the morning.
Jatrabarhi Police Station Sub-Inspector Emranul Islam said strikers left the scene as police arrived there.
Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were plying in Dhaka, while city buses were seen running but in less-than-usual numbers.
Government offices and courts opened but attendance was thin, though it might pick up as the day progresses. But the streets of Dhaka wore a deserted look.
Long-route buses were grounded at city terminals due to the strike, but launch and train services were normal, officials said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesperson Monirul Islam said law-keepers were determined to prevent violence. Mobile courts were also active at all DMP zones to ensure instant trial.
On Aug 1, the High Court in a verdict cancelled Jamaat’s registration as a political party with the Election Commission saying it was ‘illegal and void’. Jamaat claimed the verdict was ‘wrong’ and reflective of the government’s ‘political motives’.
A political party can continue to be active without a registration but is ineligible to contest in the elections.
The strike call came in a media statement hours after the High Court verdict.
The party, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, in the release, signed by Central Publicity Department chief Mohammad Ibrahim, also announced to continue its movement against the ‘unconstitutional and undemocratic verdict’.
Meanwhile, Jamaat faced harsh criticisms for calling the strike immediately after the Eid, the biggest religious festival of Muslims all around the world.
Many people had bought tickets for travelling to their ancestral homes in the districts before Eid to spend the vacation with the families.
But they had to return the tickets after the shutdown was announced.
The decision was taken considering the plight of those returning from home after Eid, said Assistant Secretary General Rafiqul Islam Khan in a media statement.
The High Court, meanwhile, has summoned both Ibrahim and Khan for appearance on Sept 16 to explain why calling strikes against its verdict should not be treated as contempt of court.
Rafiqul Islam Khan is currently absconding as he faces a three-month imprisonment on a similar charge.
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