Three buses have been set on fire in Chattogram amid a 48-hour nationwide hartal called by the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami to protest the announcement of an election schedule they describe as ‘one-sided’.
The arson incidents occurred early on Monday morning near a mosque in Satkania Upazila.
The buses and a few other vehicles were parked in an open space to the south of the mosque, said Inspector Md Ataul Haque Chowdhury of Satkania Police Station.
Locals saw the fire and reported the incident to police.
Fire service personnel then went and extinguished the fires.
A guard was on duty near where the buses were parked, Inspector Ataur said. When questioned, he said he had not seen anything.
The matter is being investigated and the perpetrators will be identified, he said.
Satkania and Lohagara upazilas saw a flare in violence before and after the 10th national parliamentary elections in 2014. There were incidents of vehicles being torched and petrol bombs being detonated in the area nearly every day. Several casualties were reported in these incidents.
After the election, several roads in the upazilas were blocked.
However, there is relatively little change to daily activity in the port city of Chattogram on the second day of the hartal. The traffic and atmosphere seem like another regular day.
Though long-haul buses are not running, inter-city public transport and private transport can be seen on the streets.
Schools and other educational institutions are open as well.
Local journalists in Sitakunda and Mirsharai say that traffic is regular on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway as well.
Officials on duty at the bus counters in the city’s Dampara area say that no buses are running in the morning, but the companies are relying on passengers travelling at night.
The BNP and its affiliate organisations are holding scattered protest marches in support of the hartal in various parts of the city.
Activists of the party and its affiliate organisations are protesting in Rahattarpul, Jamalkhan and other areas, according to the Chattogram city BNP office.