Three persons were killed and a court complex here was targeted with crude bombs on Tuesday as an 83-hour nationwide blockade in Bangladesh by opposition parties demanding a caretaker poll-time regime entered its fourth day.
Violence marked the last day of the fifth spell of countrywide transport blockade, which also saw nearly 25 trucks and buses torched and several people injured.
A 20-year-old man was killed in southwestern Satkhira when clashes erupted between protesters and security forces. The two other deaths were reported from northwestern Sirajganj where two blockade supporters were killed when police opened fire as they allegedly tried to rob a truck.
The 18-party opposition alliance led by the BNP has been enforcing nationwide blockades since November 26 to push for the postponement of the January 5 general election.
Earlier in the day, suspected opposition members exploded crude bombs at the complex of Dhaka’s district magistrate, sessions judge and metropolitan court.
Police said one court employee was injured as the bombs were set off at the room of an executive magistrate at the ground floor of the building that also houses the offices of the Dhaka’s district magistrate and deputy commissioner and the police superintendent.
The explosion came shortly after a Dhaka court at the same complex ordered two detained senior BNP leaders, former Dhaka mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka and ex-minister Hannan Shah, to be remanded in police custody for two days to be questioned in a case for instigating violence.
Fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, a key ally of the BNP, is carrying out a parallel but fierce street campaign to thwart an ongoing trial of its top leaders for “crimes against humanity” committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war.
Meanwhile, BNP chief and leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia is likely to call for a total non-cooperation with the multi-party government headed by her archrival Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to mount pressure on her to shelve the planned January 5 polls.
The opposition has demanded that the polls should be shelved as more than half of the candidates are set to be elected unopposed to the 300-seat parliament in the absence of opposition candidates.
The opposition also wants the installation of a non-party caretaker government for election oversight but Hasina’s Awami League has rejected the demand as “unconstitutional”.