By Syed Tashfin Chowdhury
A coalition of a dozen religion-based political parties led by Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish (BKM), enforced their countrywide 30-hour strike starting from 6am on July 10. With support from the main opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the alliance also threatened to enforce shutdowns even during the month of Ramadan “if the government creates any obstacle” during their strike today.
As the government “acted sternly” during strike hours on July 10, the IAB has already announced further countrywide agitation programme from July 12 till 15. The 12-party called the shutdown in protest against what it was said dropping of the words “absolute faith in Allah” from the constitution.
However, considerable picketing was absent within the major city limits.
The Daily Star reported that over 70 people, including 10 policemen, reporters of a number of electronic and print media were injured in separate incidents of clashes in Narayanganj when picketers tried to block the Dhaka-Chittagong highway on July 10. The national daily also reported that the police have arrested “some 228 leaders and activists of different Islamic parties, and mobile courts sentenced 42 people to different terms in jail on the day”. Similarly, accounts of conflicts between law enforcement officials and picketers in different parts of Bangladesh were also reported by the various dailies.
Meanwhile, the police cordoned off BKM and Islami Andolon Bangladesh (IAB) central offices at Paltan and at Purana Paltan respectively for four hours in the morning.
Following the clashes, the IAB held a press conference where they alleged that the police had arrested around 1,200 activists of the 12-parties and demanded their freedom.
In a separate incident, Mosharraf Hossain, who suffered 95% burn injuries when criminals torched a truck in Natore during the 48-hour strike on Wednesday, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) during the early hours of July 10.