August 22, 2007

Curfew in Bangladesh

Background on this issue:
* Trouble at Dhaka University

* Student riot continues in Dhaka

(Photo courtesy The Daily Star: Victorious students bidding farewell to the army posted in the campus)

The riot spread outside Dhaka on the 3rd day. At least 50 students and 10 police were wounded in the clashes in Rajshahi, about 230 kilometers (145 miles) northwest of Dhaka. IHT reports:
Violent clashes between police and students demanding an end to emergency rule in Bangladesh left at least one man dead and about 100 people wounded at university campuses across the country Wednesday,

An unidentified man died when students from Rajshahi University, in northwestern Bangladesh, set the school vice chancellor's home on fire and attacked a police checkpoint
BDNews24 reports:
A rickshawpuller died in police firing at Rajshahi University as violent student protests over Monday's army assault at Dhaka University raged across universities and colleges Wednesday. Dhaka University, Rajshahi University, Chittagong University, Government Azizul Haque University College in Bogra, BL College and Government Azam Khan Commerce College in Khulna, and BM College in Barisal became restive as students clashed with police, correspondents report. Violence broke out at Rajshahi University Wednesday morning as students demanding withdrawal of the law enforcers from the campus clashed with police.
The Government warned people of stern action if they do not listen to the call for calm and violate law and order. The statement released by the Press Information Department said some "rowdy non-students" continued to stage protests and damaged private and public property, despite the withdrawal of the army camp from Dhaka University.

Now there is a rumor of curfew being imposed across the country to take control of situation. We are anxiously waiting to hear the developments. The curfew may be imposed as early as in the evening.

I hope the Government will not use force to ignite more fuel to the flame. And I also condemn the destruction of public property in the protests. It will only create anarchy in the country. We need to identify the cause of the public rage.

Update: Shada Kalo points to other news:

- The 3 service chiefs met with US and UK embassy officials and UN officials for an all-nighter. The martial-law question came up, and was put on hold for the time being but that option is not off the table.
- Education adviser's house in Dhanmondi has been attacked by a procession.

Drishtipat blog asks "What are they protesting now?". It points that a premature end to the Care Taker Government will bring grave danger for our country. The blog analyzed why the protest spread like wildfire across the country. It comments:
We have often talked about here the labour unrest, the disconnect of the government with the real people, the inflation– add this to the years of neglect of public interest by previous governments, such massive unrest was predicted but it wasn’t seen to be coming this quickly.
Update II: Dhaka looks like battle zone from today's TV reports. Here is a report from yesterday's violence.

Update III: Curfew to start from 8 PM today, for an indefinite period. All universities closed down (source) and students have been asked to vacate dormitories within 8 PM giving only a couple of hours to do that. The acting vice chancellor of DU AFM Yusuf Haider said that the University is yet to take any decision regarding that.

Update IV: From E-Bangladesh:
CTG is plotting to arrest students tonight. Since most of them will not be able to leave their dorms, police may attack them later at night. They are planning to switch off power of DU area from 8pm.
Update V: Bangla Blogs are buzzing on this issue:

Somewhere in "বাঁধ ভাঙার আওয়াজ"
Sachalayatan "সচলায়তন"

They are reporting mobile networks to be shut down from 6PM to 9PM. Wide scale raids by security forces feared.

Update VI: Salah Uddin Shoaib Chowdhury's Weekly Blitz reports:
television channels owned by corrupt BNP and Awami League men have started well-organized provocative campaign to give instigations to students and public in making the situation worst. The alleged television channels are continuing to broadcast news and commentaries with the motive of involving mass people in the agitation in order to make it much complicated. It is learnt from dependable sources that owners of these TV channels sent special message from prison to give maximum provocations to the incident in order to put the government into difficult situation. It may be mentioned here that, there are eight private television channels in Bangladesh out of ten, which are owned by front ranking leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP] and Awami League.


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