31 October 2023, Mumbai: Political tensions have government to deploy paramilitary troops and intensify security measures in response to a three-day nationwide transport blockade called by the main opposition party, BNP. The move follows two days of deadly violence, raising concerns about the security situation in the country.
Paramilitary Deployed Nationwide
The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has deployed paramilitary troops across the country to maintain law and order and safeguard major highways. Several hundred paramilitary personnel are also on patrol in the national capital, Dhaka. This deployment is a response to the heightened tensions caused by the opposition’s transport blockade.
Security Vigilance Intensified
The elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has declared high alert status in major cities, emphasizing the need for increased security. The Home Minister, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, convened a meeting of the “core committee on law and order affairs” to review the security situation with senior officials from police and other law enforcement and security agencies. The heads of these agencies have been instructed to remain extra vigilant during the 72-hour opposition blockade to prevent acts of sabotage and violence.
Arson Incidents Create Panic
Despite the security measures, unidentified individuals set fire to two static empty buses in the port city of Chattogram and Gazipur town on Monday night. While no casualties were reported in these incidents, both buses were completely destroyed. These arson attacks have heightened tensions and caused panic in the affected neighborhoods.
Violence and Clashes
The opposition’s blockade began after two garment workers died in clashes with the police while demanding higher wages in Gazipur industrial district. These clashes appear to have political links. During the blockade, there were reports of BNP workers allegedly attacking a police constable and setting several vehicles, including ambulances and buses, on fire in different parts of the city. Over 200 people were wounded during these incidents.
Political Arrests and Protests
The opposition rally was cut short as police used tear gas to disperse “unruly elements,” prompting the opposition to call for a nationwide stoppage. The de facto leader and secretary-general of the BNP, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, were arrested for allegedly instigating violence. The general strike led to two fatalities, one in Dhaka and another in the northeastern district of Lalmonirhat, amid widespread violence.
Bangladesh is currently grappling with heightened political tensions, marked by violence, arson incidents, and arrests of opposition leaders. The government’s deployment of paramilitary troops and increased security measures reflects the need to address these issues and maintain law and order in the country during this challenging period.
By Yashika Desai