Countrywide hartal under tight security, bus torched in Ctg

Strict security measures were seen in place on Sunday throughout Dhaka as the countrywide daylong general strike called by 12 Islamist organisations including Khelafat Andolon begun.

Buses, auto-rickshaws and rickshaws were seen plying the streets since dawn, they were lesser in numbers. There was no usual rush of office-goers in the morning as seen on weekdays.

Limited numbers of long-route vehicles were seen in the morning. However, most of the trains left Kamalapur Rail Station on schedule.

Police detained 38 activists of the Islamist parties while they were picketing on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in the capital's Jatrabari area around 6:30am.

Police also detained three activists of the parties at Badamtoli intersection in Agrabad of Chittagong around 9:00am while they were setting fire on a BRTC bus, said Md Arefin Jewel, assistant commissioner (AC) of Double Mooring Zone.

AKM Abul Kashem, officer-in-charge of Jatrabari Police Station, told media that they detained the teachers and students of Tamirul Millat Madrasa at Mir Hajirbagh as they attacked law enforcers while police tried to resist them from picketing.

A police official was injured during the incident, the OC added.

Abdul Latif, officer-in-charge of Kafrul Police Station, told The Daily Star that five were arrested while picketing on the Rokeya Sarani in Shewrapara around 10:30am.

Five others were nabbed at East Kazipara around 11:00am while vandalising a human hauler (known as Leguna), the police official added.

Meanwhile, police detained 38 activists of the Islamist parties while they were picketing on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in the capital's Jatrabari area around 6:30am.

On the other hand, police cordoned off the main office of Islami Oikya Jote in the Old Dhaka.

The vehicular movements on the city streets remained quite normal during the hartal hours. But the presences of private cars are thin.

Almost all the shopping malls and roadside shops remained closed.

The educational institutions also remained closed.

Additional law enforcers were deployed at different key points of the capital including press club, Paltan, Baitul Mukarram and Shahbagh to maintain law and order during the hartal hours.

The shutdown was to start from 6am, Police personnel were seen taken position at key locations in the capital - Jatrabari, Sayedabad, Kamalapur, Moghbazar, Mohakhali, Farmgate, and various intersections of the Mirpur Road - since 5am.

186 sued for Saturday's violence

Police on Sunday filed two cases against 186 people, naming 36, in connection with yesterday's violence around Jatiya Press Club.

Masud Rana, a sub-inspector of Shahbagh Police Station, filed the cases with the police station.

Abdul Jalil, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Shahbagh Police Station, told The Daily Star that one case was filed under Speedy Trial Act for vandalism and arson while the other one was filed for attacking police and obstructing them from doing their duties.

Of the named 36 accused, 32 have been shown arrest in the case while the remaining four are shown as absconding.

Twelve like-minded Islamic parties on Saturday fought pitched battle with police around Jatiya Press Club area in the capital to protest against a film and one French weekly's cartoon demeaning Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (pbuh).

Later, they called a countrywide hartal for Sunday to protest police obstruction during their programme.