Today was the first day of the fourth round of 48-hour nationwide blockade called by BNP and like-minded parties across the country, including the capital, to demand the government’s resignation and a round of elections under a non-partisan government. However, visiting different areas of the capital did not show much effect of the blockade.
On Sunday (October 12), as the day progressed, public transport, Laguna, CNG auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were widely present in the capital’s Jatrabari-Demra Road, Rampura-Demra Road, Rampura Uloop and Kawran Bazar area, but private private cars were not seen much. Besides, there was no crowd or traffic jam in these areas.
If there were vehicles, not many passengers were seen. Photo: Ittefaq
Although there is concern in the political unrest, people have to come out on the streets in search of bread and sustenance. One of them, Sami Khandkar, said, ‘There is a continuous siege in the country. And every day 4-5 buses are on fire. Many people like us are getting hurt. But we cannot sit at home. Because we have to go out to earn a living.’
A CNG driver was waiting for the passenger for about 20 minutes at the staff quarter area of Demra. He said, ‘There is no suffocation during office hours in the morning. I am not getting passengers today. Rickshaw, CNG are all empty. People don’t leave the house unless they have a lot of need.’
Meanwhile, between 11 am and 12 am, visiting Gulistan, Motijheel, Paltan, Kamalapur, Khilgaon, Mouchak, Malibagh, Badda, Gulshan, Mahakhali areas of Dhaka did not show much effect of the siege. On the other hand, passengers were less in Mirpur 10, Mirpur 2, Mirpur 1, Technical, Kalyanpur and Shyamoli areas. Many of the seats of the buses plying on these roads were empty.
Bus driver Monowar Hossain said, ‘No one is accepting the blockade, so we are not accepting either. If you don’t go out with a car, you won’t have enough rice in your stomach. Maybe passengers don’t get on the bus for fear of burning the car. Everyone has an illusion of life.’
It can be seen on the ground that the police are patrolling the important roads. Law enforcement forces have increased vigilance to prevent any kind of vandalism. Additional members of law and order forces have also been deployed in the surrounding districts of Dhaka to strengthen overall security.
Many walk to their destinations. Photo: Ittefaq
On the other hand, the leaders and workers of Awami League and affiliated organizations of the party are divided into small groups at the important intersections of the capital.
Abu Ahmed Mannafi, President of Dhaka Metropolitan South Awami League, said, ‘We are thinking about preventing BNP-Jamaet sneak attacks. The administration is on alert. The culprits are being caught through CCTV footage. BNP will not be able to run like this for long. Awami League leaders and workers are being instructed to remain on guard even after evening.
According to the media cell of the Directorate of Fire Services and Civil Defence, a total of 9 incidents of arson took place between 8pm on Saturday (November 11) and 6am on November 12 (the night before the blockade). 7 vehicles were set on fire in Dhaka City, 1 in Dhaka Division (Gazipur), 1 in Barisal Division (Barisal Sadar). 8 buses, 1 pickup were burnt in this incident. 19 units of fire service and civil defense and 193 personnel worked to extinguish the fire.
Buses were set on fire in the capital yesterday before the blockade began. Photo: Collected
It is to be noted that on October 28, the party called a nationwide strike on October 29 after accusing the police of attacking the BNP’s mass meeting. Later, Jamaat-e-Islami supported the strike. The two parties called a complete blockade for three consecutive days from October 31 to November 2 with a break of one day. Later BNP-Jamaat called for a second round of blockade from 5 to 6 November and a third round from 8 to 9 November. BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced a new 48-hour blockade program on Sunday (November 12) and Monday (November 13) in a virtual press conference on the last day of the third phase of the blockade.