8 more die as violence rages

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At least eight people were killed and several hundred injured as street fighting between opposition activists and law enforcers and ruling party men raged across the country on the second day of the opposition-enforced rail-road-waterway blockade, raising the death toll to 17 since Monday.
The opposition activists continued to battle with lawmen, attack rivals, torch and vandalise vehicles, locomotives and government offices and remove rail tracks on Wednesday snapping communications between the capital and the rest of the country.
The death toll could rise further, as some of the victims with appalling burns inflicted by blockade enforcers were fighting for their lives in hospital beds. The surge of violence followed the Election Commission’s announcement of the schedule for the 10th general election.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance on Wednesday announced extension of the 48-hour blockade by another 23 hours making it a 71-hour protest which would now end at 5:00am Friday.
On behalf of the opposition alliance, BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a news briefing at the party central office on Wednesday night also announced Gayebana Janaza across the country, including Dhaka city, after juma prayers on Friday for the leaders and activists of the alliance killed in violence during the blockade. The BNP earlier in the afternoon had announced a 12-hour extension of the blockade. 
The alliance bagan enforcing the blockade at 6:00am Tuesday in protest against the government’s move for holding ‘unilateral’ elections before reaching an understanding over the polls-time administration.
Chhatra Dal activist Masum Billah, 25, and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Jalil were killed in clashes between supporters of ruling and opposition camps at Mukundugachhi of Belkuchi in Sirajganj; Awami League leader Kamal Hossain,40, also a union council member, was killed in clashes between AL and BNP activists at Chupair of Kaliganj in Gazipur; Jamaat activist  Shamsur Rahman was shot dead during clashes with the police at Shealdanga in Satkhira;
a local Jamaat leader was shot dead allegedly by Chhatra League activists at Jessore New Town; a young man was killed as miscreants hurled bombs at a human hauler at Thakur Dighir Par in Satkania of Chittagong around 8:00pm; National Bank staff Anwara Begum, 50, died in Dhaka Medical College Hospital after sustaining wounds in a bomb attack on Tuesday and auto-rickshaw driver Md Ershad, 25, died from injuries in Chittagong Medical College Hospital after his vehicle overturned in Patiya as he tried to escape vandalism by blockade enforcers.
The correspondent in Sirajganj reported two people were killed as BNP-Jamaat men clashed with police and Awami League activists at Mukundugachhi Bazar in Belkuchi in the morning. 
The clashes broke out after rival processions came face to face at Mukundugachhi Bazaar.
At one point, marchers of the ruling party and opposition attacked each other with lethal weapons forcing the police fire in the air and tear gas. The fighting left opposition activists Masum Billah and Abdul Jalil dead and around 50 people injured.
Chhatra Dal’s former district unit secretary Aminul Islam Khan Halim said that the clashes broke out after Awami League activists barred the opposition marchers in the bazaar area. Police opened fire on the feuding groups.
Executive magistrate Milan Chandra Sarker said one person was stabbed to death and the other was shot dead during the clashes.
Member of Jamalpur union council in Kaliganj of Gazipur, Kamal Hossain, also a local Awami League leader, sustained fatal injuries in clashes between AL and BNP when AL supporters tried to resist enforcement of blockade in Chupair area around 1:30pm. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. 
Gazipur assistant superintendent of police (circle) Shariar Al Mamun said the clashes broke out when ruling party men tried to resist enforcement of blockade at Chupair when the BNP supporters were mobilising there. At least 10 people from both the sides were injured in the fighting and Kamal died on way to hospital, he said.
A joint team of police, Border Guard Bangladesh and Rapid Action Battalion opened fire on villagers at Shealdanga in Satkhira after the villagers, incited by Jamaat men, ringed the lawmen and attacked them. Jamaat activists mobilised the villagers by asking them through PA system to come out to foil the raid.
Satkhira additional superintendent of police Joydev Chowdhury said the violent mob had forced lawmen to open fire that left Jamaat activist Shamsur Rahman dead.
New Age correspondent in Jessore reported that a local Jamaat leader was shot dead allegedly by Chhatra League activists in the New Town neighbourhood around 7:30pm.
Kotwali police officer-in-charge Emdadul Haque Sheikh said seven or eight unknown miscreants had entered the residence of Abdul Hai Siddique Bulbul, 35, secretary of New Town unit Jamaat, and shot him in the head. Jamaat’s district unit secretary Nurun Nabi claimed that activists of Chhatra League had killed Bulbul.
In Satkania of Chittagong, Md Shahed, 20, sustained fatal head injuries as blockade enforcers hurled bombs at a human hauler in which he was travelling with his mother, at Thakur Dighir Par around 8:00pm. He died at Chittagong Medical College Hospital at around 9:00, said CMCH police outpost Nayek Abdul Hamid. His mother fainted on the spot after witnessing the incident.
The duty officer at Satkania police station, however, said that they had heard that one person was killed in an incident but did not know whether the death was caused by a bomb attack or an accident.
Reports from Chittagong said two brothers sustained severe burns as blockade enforcers set fire to an auto-rickshaw carrying them in front of Almas cinema at Kazir Dewri in the city.
Md Alam, 32, and Md Murshed, 20, both businessmen and residents of Sufi Bari under Khulsi, were admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said Pankaj Barua, assistant sub-inspector of CMCH police outpost.
Fierce fighting erupted around10:00am between the law enforcers and opposition activists in the City Gate area, known as the entrance to Chittagong, when police tried to disperse them to clear the road for traffic.
The correspondent in Jaipurhat reported that Shibir men had removed a portion of rail track forcing suspension of train service between Jaipurhat and other districts. Police said the Shibir men uprooted the rail track at Uri-Madhavpur leaving two intercity trains – Simanta Express and Barendra Express – stranded at Jaipurhat station.
Jaiypurhat stationmaster Nurul Islam said repair work had yet to be started and train service on Dhaka-Dinajpur and Rajshahi-Khulna routes remained snapped.
Blockade enforcers set fire to the locomotive of the Khulna-bound Rocket Express at Uthuli station in Chuadanga forcing suspension of train services on Khulna-Dhaka and Khulna-Rajshahi routes, reported the correspondent there.
At least 10 people were injured as the pickets torched at least 10 vehicles at Gokulkhali bazaar in Chuadanga in the morning.
In Noakhali, Jamaat-Shibir men brought out a procession in Maizdi and vandalised a Sikandar Plaza shopping mall owned by an Awami League leader. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters leaving at least 12 injured, including three hit by bullets.
Violence spread across Barisal city after activists of the ruling and opposition parties clashed on the second day of the blockade.
 The ruling party-backed labourers tried to take control of Kashipur bazaar on the outskirts of the city prompting pro-blockade activists to rush there. Police intervened by firing tear gas.
 Blockade enforcers gathered at the city entry points blocking Barisal-Dhaka highway around 7:50am and began vandalising vehicles, blasting crude bombs and battling with police. The clashes spilled over to the surrounding areas of Kashipur Choumatha, Bazaar Road, Fishery Road, Luthfar Rahman Road, Sobhan Miar bridge and Nathullabad bridge.
 A procession led by city BNP president Mojibor Rahman Sarwar, also a lawmaker, tried to advance from Natun Bazar but police dispersed them.
The correspondent in Sylhet said at least 10 people, including three policemen, were injured in clashes at Golapganj in the city.
They blockade-enforcers also burnt a CNG-run auto-rickshaw in the upazila town during the clashes. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the pickets and detained two of them.
The correspondent in Jessore said that Nazmul Hossain, 30,  an activist of Awami Juba League, was seriously wounded as blockade enforcers beat and stabbed him while he along with party activists was trying to resist road blockade at Kuada Bazar under Manirampur.
Assistant superintendent of police Rehana Sharmin confirmed the incident. ‘The wounded was taken to Jessore Medical College Hospital,’ she added.
In the capital Dhaka, at least two policemen were injured in attacks by activists of Shibir at Madhya Badda around 8:30am.
Sub-inspector Lokman Hossain and constable Abdul Aziz was injured as the Shibir men attacked a police patrol. Police arrested four Shibir men, said Badda police officer-in-charge Iqbal Hossain.
Driver Hannan Mia, 45, sustained critical injuries in the head when blockade enforcers threw crude bombs at a bus of Balaka Paribahan at Ittefaq intersection at about 9:30pm. Activists of Chhatra Shibir exploded crude bombs and started fire on the road at Naya Paltan around 6:00pm, said Paltan police officer-in-charge Golam Sarwar.  Police fired in the air to disperse the activists.
Bombs were also exploded at Pantha Path, Shahidbah and Mohakhali and Bhatara after sundown. Miscreants torched a CNG-run auto-rickshaw at Bhatara.
At least 20 people were injured as opposition activists clashed with law enforcers blocking Dhaka-Aricha highway at Phulbaria in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital.
Blockade enforcers set fire to three vehicles at Ashkona in Uttara around 9:45am. Police shots several rounds to disperse the activists there, said Mehedi Hasan, a sub-inspector of Airport Police Station.
In Khulna, Three policemen were injured in a bomb attack on Khan Jahan Ali Road. Khulna Sadar police OC Sahabuddin Azad said that nayek Zafar and constable Sohel were badly injured in the attack.

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