POWER PRICE HIKE

Left parties’ half-day hartal largely ignored

Staff Correspondents | Published: 00:05, Dec 01,2017 | Updated: 00:19, Dec 01,2017

 
 
Hartal

Left leaning parties block Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka on Thursday morning as part of their half-day strike protesting against power price hike. — Indrajit Ghosh

The country-wide half-day hartal called by left political parties was largely ignored as traffic movement in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country remained almost normal on Thursday.
Leaders of the parties, however, complained that police inhibited hartal supporters from holding street rallies and demonstrations during hartal hours.
Police detained over 100
leaders and activists and beat up the protesters in Dhaka, Khulna, Gaibandha, Kishoreganj, Jamalpur and some other districts, leaders of the left parties claimed.
The parties, in a joint statement, announced country-wide protest rallies for Friday protesting at the detention and torture during hartal.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh, the Socialist Party of Bangladesh and Democratic Left Alliance called the hartal from 6:00am to 2:00pm protesting against the latest power price hike to be effective from December 1.
In Dhaka, police used scaring sound stimulators to disperse hartal supporters at Shahbagh at about 7:30am.
On early Thursday, police raided CPB headquarters at Mukti Bhaban in the capital’s Purana Paltan and detained 11 activists of Garment Workers Trade Union Centre, Bangladesh Students Union and Juba Union, CPB leaders said.
Paltan police station officer-in-charge Md Mahmudul Haque said they raided the CPB office and detained 11 people on suspicion of their preparations for a chaotic start of the hartal.
The detainees, however, were released later.
CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim and general secretary Shah Alam in a statement condemned the police raid.
Amid police moves, activists of left parties managed to take position at Shahbagh intersection that halted traffic movement for an hour since 11:00am.
Traffic movement was halted for two hours from 12:00pm in front of the National Press Club when the left parties held a rally supporting the hartal.
In Savar, left student organisations under the banner of Progressive Students’ Alliance of Jahangirnagar University blocked the Dhaka- Aricha Highway at Joy Bangla gate of the university for two hours.
Ashulia police, however, dispersed them from the spot later.
The New Age correspondent in Khulna reported that police charged batons on hartal supporters when they brought out a procession at Dutch-Bangla intersection.
Police also detained three protesters, including CPB central committee leader SA Rashid. The detainees were released later.
Our Sylhet correspondent reported that the strike was weakly enforced in the district since the public offices and market places were open like other working days.
Hartal supporters brought out processions from Court Point in the city at about 8:00am and marched through the city streets.
Motorised vehicles’ movement including the inter-city buses was normal, though the number of buses were comparatively few, transport workers said.
Our Gaibandha correspondent reported that at least 10 leaders and activists of the left parties got injured as police charged batons on hartal supporters while dispersing them.
Police detained seven hartal supporters including, CPB district president Mihir Ghosh.
Our Barisal correspondent reported that the eight-hour general strike was largely ignored in the district.
Traffic movement on Jail road, Kakali intersection, Sadar road was normal.
In a statement, Nagarik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna condemned police actions on hartal supporters.
Earlier, Nagarik Oikya, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSC and Bangladesh Nationalist Party extended their moral support to the strike.
Amid anti-price hike logics submitted before the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission during its public hearing, the country’s sole energy regulatory body on November 23 increased the prices of electricity by 5.3 per cent on an average at consumer level. 

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