A picket has been shot dead and eight others held in Gabtoli during the second and final day of the countrywide transport strike on Wednesday.
Shah Alam, 32, succumbed to his injuries around 6:30pm at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital where he was taken for immediate treatment.
DMP Assistant Commissioner Syed Mamun Mostafa told the Dhaka Tribune that the victim, a Boishakhi Poribohon bus driver, was injured after the police took action to calm mounting unrest.
“The workers went on a rampage in Gabtoli Wednesday morning. We had to fire blank shots to disperse them," he said, adding that eight arrests were made.
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Pickets were seen setting fire on tyre in Bhola Dhaka Tribune
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the law enforcers were forced into firing blank shots.
“The workers attacked a vehicle of a high ranking army official. The law enforcers were forced to fire blank shots to disperse them,” he said while addressing a programme on the first 'Police Memorial Day' at Police Staff College.
- Transport workers vandalise 5 vehicles in Gabtoli, tear shells fired
The tense situation at the Gabtoli bus terminal area began to develop on Tuesday night, after a group of agitated transport workers torched a police wrecker and a police box. Five policemen and four transport workers were injured during those clashes.
Earlier in the day, police fired tear shells when the strike supporters blocked roads in Gabtoli area and vandalised five vehicles, including an ambulance.
The workers began their strike on Tuesday morning to demand the release from life imprisonment of bus driver Jamir Hossain and the quashing of truck driver Mir Hossain Miru’s death penalty.
Jamir received his life sentence for causing the deaths of five people, including filmmaker Tareque Masud and cinematographer and journalist Mishuk Munier, in a road crash in 2011. Mir Hossain Miru was handed a death sentence following the death of a woman in a road accident at Savar, Dhaka in 2003.
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Transport workers enforce strike in Habiganj Dhaka Tribune
On Monday night, pro-government Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation (BRTWF) had called the strike from a meeting held at its Motijheel office, hours after Khulna Motor Workers’ Union General Secretary Md Zakir Hossain withdrew the indefinite transport strike being observed in 10 districts of the division since Sunday demanding Jamir’s release.
The decision was an outcome of meeting with the district administration, which the central leaders rejected later on, expanding the strike nationwide.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, also executive president of the BRTWF, had given his backing to the strike in Khulna, saying on Sunday that the transport workers had the right to protest against the sentences.
The transport strike first began in Chuadanga, the home of bus driver Jamir, on February 22, the day when a Manikganj court sentenced him to life imprisonment in a landmark verdict.
By Wednesday afternoon, however, the countrywide action had been called off following a productive meeting of union representatives and four government ministers.
"We had a meeting with the ministers. The bus drivers and workers will now return to work,” pro-government Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation’s Senior Vice-President Abdur Rahim Baksh said.