Dhaka, Jul 10: At least 100 people were injured in violent clashes with police and ruling party cadres in Bangladesh, as activists backed by radical Jamaat-i-Islami enforced a 30-hour general strike from today demanding restoration of the word “Allah” in the amended Constitution.
Right wing activists armed with bamboo sticks and stones erected blockades on the major Dhaka-Chittagong Highway near suburban river port town of Narayanganj, prompting interventions of policemen, sparking the violent clash. They were demanding that Absolute Faith and Trust in “Allah” instead of “creator” be restored in the recently amended constitution.
Witnesses said the clash spread as anti-hartal supporters of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Awami League also tried to chase a strike supporter who snatched a shotgun and a pistol from the policemen intensifying tensions. Nearly 100 people, including 10 policemen were injured in clashes.
“The hartal activists cordoned off the police team as they took position at Panchabati area of the Highway where the clash started. The policemen lost their two weapons during the violence at the scene,” an eyewitness told PTI.
An alliance of 12 Islamist parties including IslamiAndolan Bangladesh and Khelafat-e-Majlish called the non-stop hartal while main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of ex-premier Khaleda Zia and its fundamentalist ally Jamaat-e-Islami extended their supports for their stoppage.
Television footages showed the Islamists set on fire vehicle tyres on the highway to obstruct vehicular movements while the policemen fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse the strikers. PTI