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Dhaka Tribune

People suffer for security measures

Update : 29 Dec 2013, 07:28 PM

The family of 60-year-old Mabia Begum tried to enter the capital from a nearby village for her emergency treatment yesterday. But she died on the way as the relatives could not manage a transport and were stuck at Gabtoli.

“From our Kaukandi village at Darussalam we hired a boat to Gabtoli but there we waited for hours for a transport. At last we managed a rickshaw van but she died before we could reach the Technical Intersection,” said Mohammad Ali, Mabia’s son.

The shortage of transport caused suffering for people from all walks of life in the capital as the security measures imposed by the government since Friday evening continued yesterday, the day of the opposition alliance’s “March to Dhaka” programme.

Police, Rab and BGB were deployed at every major intersection, stopping and searching anyone they found suspicious. Army personnel were seen at some entry points including Jatrabari.

The city streets were almost empty. On almost every important road, commuters walked long distances to reach destinations.

“I presumed that the roads would be empty and I would have to walk. There was no alternative for me,” said NGO staff Moksedul Karim, who talked with this correspondent near the Mayor Hanif Flyover at Kutubkhali. He was heading to Narayanganj. There were no vehicles till the Kachpur Bridge.

Our correspondent from Babubazar Bridge reported that until 5pm police, Rab and Awami League activists searched every small vehicle passing the area. They also forced some passengers to walk and made the driver turn around.

At Abdullahpur, one of the key entry points of the capital, law enforcers occupied the Tongi Diversion Road and its adjacent areas. Our correspondent saw several office goers waiting in lines and giving interview to the cops to get permission to enter the capital.

“I was released after convincing them that I am a normal office-going guy,” said Muktadir Alam, who usually went to his office in Uttara from his home in Tongi every day.

He called the barrier a harassment and blamed both the political parties for it.

Our correspondent from Savar reported that the law enforcement along with Awami League activists checked people’s vehicles and bags on the Chandra highway, at Nabinagar, Ashulia, Savar town, Hemayetpur and Aminbazar.

Work-bound commuters, particularly day labourers and garments workers, alleged that they were harassed by Awami League activists and were barred from going to their workplaces. The security loosened up around 3pm in Savar area.

Buses were seen standing idle at the Gabtoli bus terminal, and the bus counters were closed. Hundreds of people entered Dhaka by foot. Law enforcement agencies checked all the vehicles, and allowed only some, after asking the commuters why they were entering Dhaka.

The “government blockade” also hit people outside the capital.

Our Chittagong correspondent reported that the inter-district buses, particularly the Dhaka-bound ones, had remained off the road. Train service was also disrupted on Dhaka-Chittagong route. However, in the city, transport services remained normal like any other day.

In Barisal, over 3,000 passengers boarded on six Dhaka-bound triple-deck launches as the launch offices assured them that they would be able to move in the evening after the end of the opposition’s programme.

However after 5pm law enforcers rushed to the station and forced the passengers to leave the vessels and the station area. After that, the vessels were also forced to leave the jetty and anchor in mid-river.

Our Munshiganj correspondent reported that police turned away a Dhaka-bound launch from Madaripur at the launch terminal in the morning. More than 200 passengers were not allowed to get down at the town to go to Dhaka by other means. Besides, eight other launches were compelled to anchor in mid-river from 5am to 2pm with passengers. 

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