Hefazat-e-Islam men have unleashed mayhem in Brahmanbaria amid the countrywide general strike on Sunday.
The protesters torched several places of sadar, Ashuganj and Sarail after 11:00am on Sunday. They also carried out vandalism in several places. Witnesses said law enforcers and government establishments were the main target of attack. Journalists were also attacked.
Witnesses said calls were made from Brahmanbaria sadar thana mosque to peacefully observe the hartal from the morning. The announcement also urged the protesters not to carry out any attack.
But, Zila Parishad building was torched after 11:00am. Air conditioners were blasted after several rooms of the building were set on fire. Sur Samrat Alauddin Kha Sangitangan, pourashava building and upazila land office were vandalised and torched. Sadar police station and press club were also attacked.
A development fair organised by the district administration at Shaheed Dhirendranath Datta chattar was also set on fire.
Electric poles were used to put up barricade on the main road of the town.
The press club building also came under attack. Press club president and Dainik Janakantha’s staff reporter Riazuddin Jami was attacked while he was entering the club premises. The journalists were confined inside the press club as of filing this report at 1:00pm.
The protesters also attacked the police outpost at toll plaza of Ashuganj Syed Nazrul Islam bridge and set it ablaze. The hartal supporters vandalised the toll booth. Another police outpost at Sarail Bishwaroad area was also attacked.
Leaders and activists of local Awami League and its associate bodies brought out a procession protesting against the vandalisation and the hartal in the afternoon.
Rail communication suspended
Dhaka’s rail communication with Chattogram, Sylhet and Noakhali were suspended after the protesters had carried out an attack in the Brahmanbaria railway station.
Concrete slabs from nearby drains of the railway station have been placed at railway track to obstruct rail communication. A railway bridge in the middle of Ashuganj and Brahmanbaria has been set afire. Hartal supporters gathered at Ashuganj railway station. Some trains were halted in different places as a result of the attack.
Railway sources said Sonar Bangla express of Dhaka-Chattogram route was attacked at Brahmanbaria railway station in the morning. Engine compartment and 124 windows of the train were vandalised.
The train was later taken to Bhairab railway station.
Sarder Shahadat Ali, additional director general (operations) of Bangladesh Railway, told Prothom Alo in the afternoon, “The rail communication in Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Sylhet have been suspended considering the security issue. We are in constant communication with the law enforcers and will resume service once we get green signal from them.”
Earlier on Saturday evening, railway communication had been suspended for three hours fearing untoward situation. All the intercity trains' interval in Brahmanbaria railway station has been cancelled.