A bus was torched near a “peace rally” of the governing Bangladesh Awami League (AL) at Mirpur-10 roundabout in the capital at around 1:15 pm on Sunday.
Miscreants set fire to the bus and left the area unscathed despite beefed up security in the area due to ongoing demonstrations of readymade garments workers to press home their demand of minimum wage of Tk 23,000.
The leaders and activists of the ruling party who were present there were apparently taken aback completely by the incident.
Dhaka north city Awami League office secretary William Pralay Samaddar told Prothom Alo that he saw a bus on fire while addressing the rally.
He claimed to Prothom Alo that he was hurt while trying to douse the blaze.
The Mirpur-1-bound bus of Prajapati Paribahan from Abdullahpur was set on fire when passengers were boarding it at Mirpur-10 roundabout.
The AL’s peace-rally was going by the Shah Ali Plaza, just a few metres away from the location where the bus was set on fire.
Police members always stay on guard at a traffic police office, situated on the Mirpur-10 roundabout island.
Besides, added number of police members were deployed in the area due to the ongoing demonstrations of readymade garments workers in the area.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Mirpur Model police station officer-in-charge Mohammad Mohsin said, “There were around 40 passengers in the bus of Prajapati Paribahan. Miscreants in disguise of passengers set fire to the bus at its backend.”
“The person who set the bus on fire could not be identified immediately as the passengers got down the vehicle hurriedly,” he added.
Six incidents of torching buses were recorded in the capital’s Motijheel, Gabtoli, Gulistan, Jatrabari, Agargaon and Kafrul on Saturday night, just before the start of Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) 48-hour all-out blockade across the country from 6:00am today, Sunday.
A total of 73 buses have been set on fire in Dhaka between 28 October and 11 November. A bus conductor was killed in one incident when a bus was set on fire on Demra.
Most of the incidents of the fire have been taking place in the evening, at the dead of night and in the crack of dawn.
Police and the de facto opposition, BNP, have been issuing contradictory statements on who are to blame for the incidents.
The police said BNP leaders and activists have been creating a dreaded environment by carrying out subversive activities and arson attacks as the party has been enforcing blockades.
On the other hand, BNP’s senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi in a virtual press briefing claimed that the ruling party men have been setting the buses on fire.