The Khaleda Zia-led opposition alliance has extended its ongoing 72-hour countrywide blockade to 131 hours, plunging the country into greater uncertainty as no visible rapprochement was in sight to end the violent deadlock.
The scenario, as political observers say, might deteriorate as the ruling Awami League, Jatiya Party, JSD, and Workers Party and other smaller parties and independent candidates have filed their nomination papers on Monday, the last day of the submission, to contest the Jan. 5 general elections. The extended blockade of rail, road and waterways will now continue till 5:00pm Thursday, announced BNP spokesperson Salahuddin Ahmed through a video message to the media from an undisclosed location. As many BNP leaders are already in the custody, facing charges of violent attacks on transports causing deaths and destructions, others preferred hiding.
The opposition called the 72-hour blockade for the second time in a span of a week protesting schedule for 10th parliamentary election and “false cases” against its leaders and “torture and repression” of its activists. Two persons were killed and over three hundred injured in sporadic violence across Bangladesh on the third day of the blockade with opposition activists continued to target the rail and road communications.
Adding a new dimension to the situation, unidentified people hurled several crude bombs at the vehicle of Syed Ashraful Islam, the general secretary of the ruling Awami League and a minister in interim government. The bombs were targeted to the minister’s car when he was going to Kishoregonj from Dhaka to submit his nomination papers. Unidentified people also lobbed four bombs at the residence of Commerce Minister GM Quader, whose Jatiya Party has joined the interim government and decided to contest the polls.
Meanwhile the police refused to allow a procession of over 1000 drivers and transport workers badly affected by violence when they were marching towards Ms. Zia’s residence.