Transport workers have vandalised five vehicles, including an ambulance, in Dhaka’s Gabtoli bus terminal area during a countrywide indefinite transport strike.
The workers are observing the strike demanding withdrawal of bus driver Jamir Hossain’s life imprisonment and truck driver Mir Hossain Miru’s death penalty since Tuesday morning.
“We were forced to fire tear shells to disperse the workers when they went on a rampage Wednesday morning,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Syed Mamun Mostafa told the Dhaka Tribune.
He said they were trying to bring the situation under control.
Arif Patan, a Gazipur bound passenger, told the Dhaka Tribune: "No bus has left for Gazipur. I had to change my transport several times to go to office but the transport workers stopped my vehicle and assaulted me as my autorickshaw reached Tongi.
“I had to walk 5km from there to reach my office in Barobari. The strike supporters blocked several points of Dhaka-Mymensingh highway because of which even ambulance was stuck on the road.”
Besides, the transport workers also blocked the roads in Jatrabari area, disconnected Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet road network.
A tense situation surfaced in the Gabtoli bus terminal area Tuesday night, after a group of agitated transport workers clashed with police, torching a police wrecker and a police box.
Fire policemen and four transport workers were injured during the clashes and later taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
People across the country are suffering immensely due to the strike since most of them claimed to have little idea about the matter.
On Monday night, pro-government Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation (BRTWF) 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 ten 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.
On Sunday, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, also executive president of the BRTWF, backed the strike in Khulna, saying that the transport workers had the right to protest against the sentence.
The transport strike first began from 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, which is the highest punishment for any road accident in the country that occur mostly due to recklessness of driver.
Jamir’s life sentence was for the deaths of five people, including filmmaker Tareque Masud and cinematographer and journalist Mishuk Munier, in a road crash in 2011, and while truck driver Mir Hossain Miru death sentenced followed the death of a women though road accident at Savar, Dhaka in 2003.