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Sunday, November 25, 2012
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Non-stop hartal in Phulbari

National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports will enforce a daylong hartal for the second consecutive day today in Phulbari upazila of Dinajpur.

Addressing a rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the city yesterday, Prof Anu Mohammad, member secretary of the committee, said they will hold countrywide demonstrations to realise their demands.

Meanwhile, another platform “Orajnoitik Mancha” yesterday declared to enforce hartal in the upazila for an indefinite period from today. The platform is led by Phulbari municipality Mayor Md Manik Sarker, also president of Phulbari Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Both the organisations are protesting the government's decision to let British firm Asia Energy resume its survey of the coal mine area.

During yesterday's daylong hartal, several thousand people blocked the Dinajpur-Dhaka highway and burnt tyres in different areas of the upazila since 6:00am. The blockade halted traffic on the road, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.

The committee called the hartal in protest at the imposition of Section 144 by the local administration to foil its Friday's protest rally in Phulbari.

Train service between several northern and southern districts and Dhaka remained suspended for half an hour from 10:00am as the demonstrators blocked the railway tracks near Phulbari Railway Station by felled trees.

All the educational institutions, business establishments and most shops remained closed during hartal hours.

Additional police have been deployed at different places in the upazila to maintain law and order, said assistant super of Dinajpur police.

Talking to BBC Bangla Service, member of the national committee SM Abdullah Nuruzzaman said no one from the government have contacted them as yet. Even none has clarified why the Section 144 has been imposed there.

Prof Anu Mohammad said they were ready for talks with the government on the issue.

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Why they claim that they are actually protecting the resources? In reality, they are squandering it. When they themselves cannot utilize it, let the govt. do whatever they can do with it. Interference is not the solution, engage the govt. with dialogue and let the company 'Asia Energy' to study, whatever they want to study. They are not stealing our coal; they want to make a business out of it when you all can agree with it. Now what they want is to find some solution of a few outstanding technical problems. Why are you creating confusing among people who are ignorant and do not know what is good for them.


Carrying of bamboos and sticks should be prohibited in processions and demonstrations. It is a show of defiance, and often leads to physical violence. Everyone has the right to resort to hartal but it is the duty of the government to see that it does not go out of hands and it does not infringe the rights of other citizens.

: Reaz Hassan





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