Bus service between Rangamati and other districts have remained suspended since morning as transport owners are enforcing a daylong strike in protest against the assault of a bus driver and vandalism.
The strike was announced by the district’s association of bus owners and workers Friday evening.
President of the organisation Moinuddin Selim blames the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) for the attack, our Rangamati correspondent reported.
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People willing to travel outside the district town had to go back home as the transport workers refused to work Saturday. Presence of other vehicles is also thin.
The commuters are likely to face the same situation Sunday when UPDF-backed Pahari Chhatra Parishad is set to enforce a blockade in Rangamati district to protest the death of one of its leaders Romel Chakma, an HSC examinee.
Romel, from Naniarchar of the district, succumbed to his torture injuries on Wednesday. The PCP has blamed the army for torturing him and demanded an independent judicial inquiry.
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On Wednesday, Parbatya Nagarik Parishad and Parbatya Bangali Chhatra Parishad, two platforms of Bangali people linked to different political parties, enforced daylong shutdown in Rangamati and Khagrachhari districts in protest against the death of a for-hire motorcycle driver, Sadikul Islam, by the UPDF group.
The Bangali groups claim that members of the UPDF were terrorists and it should be banned. They also allege that the adivasi “terrorist groups” have a “devious plan” to dismember the CHT from the rest of the country.
Regarding Friday’s attack, bus owner Moinuddin claimed that 30-40 youths armed with bamboo sticks had stopped a bus at Kutukchhari when it was heading for Rangamati from Khagrachhari in the afternoon.
They vandalised the bus, beat up driver Shahadat Hossain and helper Arman, and also assaulted the passengers, he added.
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The duo were later rescued by the police and transport leaders, and admitted to Rangamati General Hospital.
Kotwali police Officer-in-Charge Muhammad Rashid confirmed the incident to the Dhaka Tribune, but said that the unidentified attackers had left before the police reached the spot.
UPDF Coordinator Michael Chakma has binned the allegations. “Our members were not involved in the vandalism; instead, it could be aggrieved locals.”
Regarding the blame for death of a for-hire motorcycle driver, Michael earlier alleged that a certain quarter had been using Parbatya Bangali Chhatra Parishad to spread hatred against the adivasi groups and the communities in general.