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Vandalism, arrest mark 20-party's 1st day of hartal

By UNB, DHAKA
26th-Jan-2015       
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The first day of the 36-hour nationwide hartal, enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance protesting the arrest of its leaders and activists and the government's 'sabotage plot' passed off alongside its indefinite transport blockade without any major incident of violence on Sunday.
The shutdown began at 6am yesterday and will end at 6pm on Monday. Stray incidents of violence were reported from different places during the hartal hours on the first day.
In the capital, a private car driver, Sarafat Ali, 35, sustained splinter injuries as a crude bomb was hurled at a Sadarghat-bound 'Bihanga Paribahan' bus from Mirpur at Karwan Bazar around 9:30 am.
He received treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
However, no procession or picketing was seen in support of the hartal in the city while the vehicular movement was as usual.
In Savar, at least 10 vehicles were vandalised on Dhaka-Aricha highway on the outskirts of the capital.
In Comilla, a group of 10-12 pickets set fire to a covered van of Hawladar Cargo Service at Haiderpool in Chouddagram upazila around 11 am. Besides, another covered van was set alight at Laksam Railway area in the early hours. In Moulvibazar, pickets vandalised a truck by hurling brick chips at Uttarbazar in the district town around 8:30 am.
In Rangpur, three goods-laden trucks were set on fire in two petrol bomb attacks in the city and Pirganj upazila on Saturday night.  However, no was injured in the incidents.
Besides, two more petrol bombs were recovered in abandoned condition from the Rangpur Zilla School in the city on Sunday. Police arrested five leaders and activists of Jamaat and Jubo Dal.
In Natore, two buses were set afire by miscreants in Dhaka Bus Stand area of the district town early Sunday, hours before the start of the 36-hour nationwide hartal enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance.
Quoting locals, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station Jakirul Islam said miscreants set fire to the buses of Dhaka-bound 'TR Travels' and 'Dipjol Enterprise' parked in the Bus Stand area at about 4am.
Two crude bombs went off in the district town around 8pm on Sunday, leaving two people injured.
Besides, a truck driver and his helper sustained burn injuries when a group of miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at the onion-laden Bogra-bound truck at Gazir Beel in the district town early Sunday.
Some 96 activists of the BNP-led 20-party alliance were arrested from Satkhira, Pabna and Manikganj during the shutdown.
In a statement, BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the shutdown programme on Saturday.
He said the hartal is also meant for protesting the government's move to increase power tariff. The hartal was called amid the 20-party's ongoing blockade programme that also passed off its 20th day on Sunday.

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