Dhaka, Jan 2 (IANS) Four crude bomb explosions in front of the residence of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia rocked the Dhaka cantonment locality Thursday even as a BNP delegation sought an appointment with President Abdul Hamid.
The bombs went off around 6.55 p.m. at a time when law enforcers were placing a water cannon there after removing two of four sand-laden trucks which blocked both ends of the road towards Zia’s residence, The Daily Star reported.
Elsewhere, in the capital’s Mirpur area, at least two people sustained injuries when demonstrators set fire to a bus on the second day Thursday of the opposition-sponsored indefinite countrywide blockade to protest the Jan 5 parliamentary polls under the stewardship of the Awami League government.
Unidentified persons torched the bus on Mirpur-Azimpur road, according to Anwar Hossain, an inspector of the police special branch.
The BNP Dec 30 called the indefinite blockade of rail, roads and waterways from Jan 1 to prevent holding of what it called the one-sided Jan 5 elections.
Since Nov 26, the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance has enforced nationwide blockade for 22 days in phases, demanding the cancellation of the general elections.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said the opposition-called blockade would not create any problem for the elections.
“It (the blockade) will create no obstacle for the voters to go to polling centres, as they will cast votes regionally. The blockade can only hamper commuting that nevertheless is restricted by us (EC) on polling day,” Ahmad said after meeting President Abdul Hamid.
Asked for his personal view on holding polls with only 12 political parties, Ahmad said: “We have tried our best to persuade political parties to reach consensus, but we also had constitutional obligation (to hold polls).”
If needed, the armed forces might remain deployed at some places even after the polls, he added.
“We called the armed forces to assist us (EC) till Jan 9 to hold a free, fair and neutral election. However, their deployment might be extended at some places, if needed, to maintain law and order.”
In another development Thursday, a BNP delegation sought an appointment with President Abdul Hamid to seek his intervention in resolving the issue of Zia’s “confinement” to her residence.
Earlier, the eight-member delegation has met Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury. During the meeting with the speaker, the delegation submitted a memorandum and sought Chaudhury’s intervention in resolving the ongoing issue focussing on the virtual “confinement” of BNP chairperson in the capital.
The BNP leaders claimed that Zia remained cordoned off in her house since Dec 26 evening after declaring the ‘March for Democracy’ programme of the combined opposition.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said Wednesday that Zia would have to face trial for the pre-election violence if the Awami League returned to power after the elections.
Addressing a series of rallies in Dhaka, she said the elections would be held Jan 5 as scheduled and urged people to go polling centres to vote.
“Those who are killing people, unleashing violence in the name of demonstrations, will be tried on this soil. She (Khaleda) will be held responsible for orchestrating (the violence),” Hasina said.