Vol. 5 Num 805 Thu. August 31, 2006  
Front Page

Sporadic clashes mark hartal
Huda's car attacked

Sporadic clashes including an impromptu attack by picketers on Communications Minister Nazmul Huda's car with him in it in the capital marked yesterday's dawn to dusk countrywide hartal imposed by major opposition parties.

The clashes between picketing opposition activists and law enforcers left around 50 persons injured including journalists and policemen. A police constable, Narayan Chandra Barman, of riot police division of western zone of the capital died of a 'cardiac arrest' while he was deployed in Pallabi area of the city to maintain law and order during the hartal hours.

Police arrested 24 opposition activists from different parts of the capital while the picketers damaged at least 25 vehicles mostly on Airport Road and in Mohakhali area including the communications minister's car near Science Laboratory in Dhanmondi.

Communications Minister Nazmul Huda's official car came under attack at about 11:30am while it was moving towards the Bangladesh Secretariat. As the picketers, who were going towards Russel Square, saw the minister's car coming out of Road No 3 in Dhanmond at the Science Laboratory traffic signal, they obstructed the car and began throwing brickbats at it. Windshields, windows, and sideview mirrors of the car were damaged, sources said adding that Barrister Nazmul Huda was in the car during the attack but not harmed.

The opposition coalition enforced the 6:00am to 6:00pm countrywide hartal to protest the killings of seven people by law enforcers at Phulbari in Dinajpur on August 26. The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Port Resources also called for a half-day hartal yesterday to protest the killings.

At least twelve persons, including five journalists, were injured during a clash between police and picketers in front of Metro Shopping Mall near Russel Square in Dhanmondi. Police picked up three persons including Hafiz and Sumon, employees of Onnyo Mela and Agora, from the spot.

The clash erupted at about 10:30am as police obstructed an Awami League procession led by Mohammad Nasim in front of the shopping mall prompting the picketers to throw brickbats at the law enforcers. Earlier, a Jubo Mohila League procession also came under police baton charge in front of Prince Plaza near Road No 27 of Dhanmondi.

Police beat up the picketers indiscriminately. During the clash The Daily Star Photojournalist Amran Hossain, BTV Videographer Shah Noor Alam, ATN Videographer Mahmud, Channel S Videographer Akash and Staff Reporter Mithun, and opposition leaders MA Sattar Bhuiyan, Abul Bashar and Sabina Islam Tuhin were injured.

An AL parliamentary party procession led by Chief Whip Abdus Shahid, and a Jubo League procession joined a rally at Russel Square while the clash at Road No 27 was on.

Addressing the rally, Nasim accused the government of the killings in Phulbari. He also said without implementation of the opposition proposed electoral reforms, they will not allow any caretaker government to takeover state power. Nasim threatened to enforce an indefinite hartal to compel the government to accept the reform proposals.

AL leaders Rahmat Ullah, Subed Ali Bhuiyan and Kazi Mostak Elen brought out a procession at Mohakhali. But police obstructed the procession and charged batons to disperse it at about 8:30am. Police also charged batons on another procession on a lane near Titumir College.

The opposition activists in retaliation threw brickbats at police. At least 10 persons including four policemen were injured. Police later chased the picketers away. The opposition activists damaged at least 10 to 12 motor vehicles during the clash. The picketers also damaged about 12 vehicles on Airport Road in the morning.

Later, AL Presidium Member Tofail Ahmed, Mainuddin Khan Badal, Syed Zafar Sazzad, Rahmat Ali, among others, held a road side rally on Mohakhali-Gulshan road.

Dhaka City AL General Secretary Mofazzel Hossain Chowdhury Maya brought out a procession from Noor Hossain Square at about 7:00am but police obstructed it before it could get on Bangabandhu Avenue. Later they held a rally in front of Muktijoddha Club.

A Jubo League procession led by its Chairman Jahangir Kabir Nanak and General Secretary Mirza Azam also joined the rally there. AL leaders Obaidul Quader, Asaduzzaman Noor, Habibur Rahman Siraj, Nanak, Azam, Dipu Moni and Omar Faruk Chowdhury spoke at the rally.

AL leader Kamal Ahmed Majumder brought out a procession at Mirpur-10 intersection while Ilias Hossain Mollah and Kamal Master brought out a procession at Pallabi. Police charged batons on both the processions prompting the opposition activist to pelt them with brickbats. At least 12 persons were injured while police picked up at least six.

Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin brought out a procession in the city's Lalbag area but police chased and dispersed it.

About 20 other opposition activists were injured during sporadic clashes between picketers and police at Jurain rail crossing, Jatrabari, Uttara, Nababpur and in other parts of the capital when the opposition coalition brought out separate processions supporting the hartal. Police picked up around 10 opposition activists from these areas during the hartal.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Port Resources brought out a procession at Paltan intersection at about 6:00am to come under a police baton charge that left several protesters injured.

Leader of the Opposition also AL President Sheikh Hasina demanded immediate release of the opposition leaders and activists arrested during the hartal hours yesterday. She also demanded scrapping of 'false' cases filed against them.

In a statement, Hasina said police arrested around 100 opposition activists and charged batons indiscriminately leaving another 300 injured.

Saying that the people have rejected the BNP-Jamaamt-led alliance government for its wide-scale corruption, misrule and torture, the AL president thanked the people for making yesterday's hartal 'a success'.

Ruling BNP cadres attacked a pro-hartal procession at Nawdapara in Rajshahi town leaving two opposition activists injured, reports our staff correspondent from Rajshahi. The opposition coalition staged demonstrations on the city thoroughfare supporting the hartal.

The dawn to dusk hartal of the opposition coalition passed peacefully in the port city of Chittagong yesterday, reports our correspondent from there. The 14-party coalition organised a rally in Darul Fazal Market area around 11:00am with City AL President ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury in the chair.

The Chittagong unit of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Port Resources also brought out a procession and held a rally on Dost Building premises with Poet Abul Momen in the chair.

Pickets pelt Communications Minister Nazmul Huda's car with stones on Green road in the capital during the opposition-sponsored hartal yesterday. PHOTO: STAR