Haroon Habib

DHAKA: Bangladesh witnessed a peaceful day on Thursday as the indefinite curfew imposed after a violent agitation by students, passed its first day in Dhaka and all major towns.

However, the curfew, which the country experienced for the first time after military rule ended in 1990, was relaxed for three hours, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There was no official announcement when the curfew would be lifted.

All government, semi-government and autonomous offices in Dhaka and the five major towns of Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and Barisal remained closed for the day as the authorities ordered closure of all such offices, including banks, until further notice.

While army and police personnel patrolled the streets of Dhaka and major towns, thousands of city dwellers crowded the city bazaar to buy essentials goods during the relaxation of the curfew .

The head of the country’s military-backed interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, termed the curfew and closing down of all universities and colleges across the country as “temporary measures”.

In a national broadcast on Wednesday night, Mr. Ahmed said the authorities had to take the measures, including the curfew, “to protect public life and property”.