Sporadic violence marks opposition strike in Bangladesh (Lead)

November 30th, 2010 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 30 (IANS) Sporadic violence marked the opposition-called strike in Bangladesh Tuesday and also caused the Supreme Court to postpone hearing of former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s contempt plea against the government.

The Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) gave the dawn-to-dusk strike call against the government, a day after Zia lost an appeal before the apex court against her eviction from a government house in Dhaka Cantonment.

Zia called for the strike to demand action to resolve miseries of the people, save democracy and defend the country’s interest and “to mount pressure on the judiciary and the government”, the Daily Star reported Tuesday.

The strike was “relatively peaceful” in the national capital, where schools, colleges, offices and shops remained closed during the day, online newspaper bdnews24.com reported.

A few vehicles were torched on the eve of the strike, while police allegedly detained over 1,300 opposition activists, it said.

Media reports said tight security arrangements were in place throughout the day and police broke up gatherings of BNP activists.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the Daily Star that Tuesday’s hearing on the contempt petition was postponed by a day as the court did not sit “considering that the lawyers concerned would not be able to attend the court due to the countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal (strike)”.

The judges of the Appellate Division of the apex court, who were to hear the case, came to their offices but did not appear before the court considering the “difficulties of lawyers”.

The strike was supported by BNP’s ally, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), the country’s largest Islamist party.

Zia, currently Leader of the Opposition in parliament, lost her plea to retain the house she had lived in since 1972 after the apex court Monday dismissed her petition.

There was no word from Zia on losing her appeal.

There was more anxiety in store for Zia whose younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, currently exiled in Bangkok, was indicted before a court on charges of money laundering while facilitating a contract for a telecommunications firm when his mother was the country’s prime minister during 2001-06.

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