Hefazat-e-Islam activists have blocked the three-kilometer stretch of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway from the Narayanganj signboard to Shimrail for 14 hours. Due to this, the traffic on this important highway is being disrupted.
After calling a strike, the workers of the organization took position on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway on Sunday morning. They set fire to 13 vehicles during the day and vandalized at least 50 more. They also clashed with police and BGB. Police and BGB members were seen firing more than once. Two people were also reported to have been shot. Hefazat workers were also on the road around 8:30 pm.
While acknowledging the day-long clashes, Narayanganj District Superintendent of Police Mohammad Zaidul Alam said police had removed the miscreants from the highway. However, in the interest of safety, the traffic on the road from the signboard to Shimrail has been stopped.
Mohammad Zaidul Alam told Prothom Alo that the miscreants set fire to tires at different places on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway (from signboards to Shimrail) from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. They also leave electricity poles on the road so that vehicles cannot move. A few cars were set on fire and vandalized. “However, Hefazat workers are not involved in these criminal activities. The miscreants set fire to vehicles on the highway,” he said.
Even though that part of the highway is closed, the traffic from Jatrabari is going through Demra. However, long-distance traffic on that road is very low.
Khandaker Enayet Ullah, general secretary of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association, told Prothom Alo that although there was no problem in the Dhaka metropolis, pro-strike Hefazat activists were continuing their violence on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. The car was set on fire, the car was vandalized. No vehicles can move from the highway signboard to Shimrail. If the situation does not improve, it has become risky for long distance vehicles to travel on this highway.
Hefazat-e-Islam called a nationwide strike on Sunday after clashes erupted in Brahmanbaria and Chittagong over protests against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to India.
Speaking to police and locals, it is learned that the supporters of Hifazat’s hartal set fire to the first tire of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway (Mouchak area) around 6:30 am and stopped the movement. They then set fire to tires on the roads at Sanarpar, Shimrail and sign boards.
At around 10 am, members of the law enforcement forces requested the strikers to leave the road. However, they did not leave the road. At that time, the supporters of the strike started clashing with the members of the law enforcement forces in Sanarpar and there were also shootings.
It can be seen on the spot that whenever a vehicle entered various places on the highway after 8:30 am, the vehicle was set on fire and vandalized. According to the Narayanganj district police superintendent, the miscreants set fire to at least seven vehicles. However, according to locals and locals, at least 13 vehicles, including two trucks, were set on fire.
Abdur Rahman, a resident of the signboard area, who came to see the situation since morning, told Prothom Alo in the afternoon that police, RAB and BGB were on the road. Even then the car is being set on fire, the car is being vandalized. In such a situation he is terrified.
Police as well as a large number of BGB members were seen on the highway to stop the strikers. There are also members of RAB. Besides the police armored vehicles, at least five armored vehicles of the BGB were also seen on patrol. However, supporters of the hartal were still on the ground at 8:30 pm, although a new program has been announced centrally after the hartal.
Police officer Jahed Parvez Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that a large number of miscreants were seen on small roads on both sides of the highway.