The main opposition BNP will enforce a dawn-to-dusk nationwide hartal demanding the “return” of its missing leader for the third consecutive day on Tuesday, BNP's acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said.

Two days of shutdown has crippled normal life in Bangladesh, paralysing transportation and shutting down business and educational institutions. The protest would continue until Ilias Ali is “returned”, said the BNP spokesman.

The former lawmaker and BNP organising secretary for Sylhet Division, Mr. Ali, has been missing since April 17 along with his driver. The party claims government agencies picked them up. The government denies the claim and alleges that the “missing” incident might be a plan to whip up anti-government agitation.

Violence

Three people were killed during the last two days and clashes between police and pro-hartal activists injured scores.

The hartal was relatively peaceful on Monday but the police found a bullet-hit body in north-eastern Sylhet, from where the missing opposition leader hails. The victim's identity could not be known immediately. Pro-hartal activists set fire to an Upazila Parisad building and laid siege to the local police station in Sylhet. They also hurled Molotov cocktails in various parts of Dhaka and torched scores of vehicles.

Tension ran high as the activists of the ruling Awami League and the BNP clashed across the country. Huge contingents of law enforcers patrolled the streets of Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong during the hartal hours.

On Sunday, one sleeping bus driver was burnt alive in Dhaka when pro-hartal activists set his bus on fire while a taxi driver was killed when he was chased near Dhaka on Monday.

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