Nov 10 2013, 8:14am CST | by IANS
Dhaka, Nov 10 — A man was killed and dozens, including police personnel, were injured Sunday in stray incidents of violence during the first day of a nationwide 84-hour non-stop general strike enforced by Bangladesh's main opposition alliance.
Nirmal Das, 45, died Sunday when the auto-rickshaw he was travelling in overturned after being allegedly chased by attackers in Chittagong, 242 km from here, reported Xinhua.
Bangladesh's former prime minister Khaleda Zia's opposition alliance Friday called a non-stop 72-hour strike from Sunday morning to press its demand for restoration of the non-party caretaker government system to oversee the national elections slated for 2014.
Bangladesh opposition's five top leaders were arrested Friday and Saturday in connection with two cases slapped on them for allegedly attempting to kill policemen and creating violence in the capital city.
Those who were arrested include Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, M.K. Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Miah and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's advisor Abdul Awal Mintoo and her special assistant Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas.
Protesting the arrest of the leaders, the opposition alliance later extended its 72-hour shutdown by 12 hours.
The shutdown crippled the normal life and business transactions to large extent with many main markets and educational institutions closed.
Private cars were rarely seen on Dhaka roads but a large number of man-pedalled rickshaws appeared in the usually bustling streets along with the presence of public transport.
Riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse stone-throwing pro-strike activists who attempted to block roads and bring out procession along the major city streets, disrupting traffic.
Police reportedly detained dozens of opposition alliance men as they locked horns in chase and counter-chase with the law enforcers. Dozens were injured in the street clashes.
Scores of cocktails and handmade bombs were reportedly exploded. But there were no reports of casualties.
Bangladesh's State Minister of Law Qamrul Islam Sunday said BNP's top leaders, including former prime minister Khaleda Zia, would be arrested if the opposition continues "vandalism and terrorist activities".
"If the BNP continues vandalism and terrorist activities, then BNP's top leaders, including Khaleda Zia, will have to face the same fate like the detained leaders," The Daily Star quoted Qamrul Islam as saying.
Bangladesh's parliament is due to expire Jan 24, 2014 and elections should be held within 90 days before its expiry.
Earlier, the opposition alliance, which includes the key Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, observed a 60-hour countrywide strike from Oct 27.
Since June 2011, when parliament abolished the non-party caretaker government system after an apex court verdict declared the 15-year-old constitutional provision illegal, the BNP-led alliance has been holding mass protests demanding the reinstatement of the provision.
Despite the main opposition alliance's threat to boycott elections, Bangladesh's ruling coalition has initiated moves to form an all-party poll-time interim cabinet in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's proposal.
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