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Leaders and activists of ruling Bangladesh Awami League took to the streets in the capital with a view to prevent the dawn-to-dusk strike (hartal) enforced by Hefazat-e-Islam on Sunday.

The hardline Islamist party called the countrywide hartal protesting police action on their processions against the visit of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

Hefazat men brought processions, hold rallies and blocked roads in the capital’s Baitul Mukarram National Mosque area since Sunday morning while leaders and activists of ruling Awami League and its associated bodies were seen active in Dhaka to prevent the hartal.

Tension prevailed in the Baitul Mukarram area as both groups took position there. Brick chips were hurled. However, police quickly brought the situation under con control.

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Leaders and activists of ruling Awami League’s Dhaka city unit have taken position on Zero Point near the party head office on Bangabandhu Avenue since the morning, chanting slogans sometimes. However, no central leaders were seen there.

Leaders and activists of Juba League, youth wing of the ruling party, took position in front of National Museum in Shahbagh, chanting slogan against the strike.

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The ruling party and its associated bodies’ activists have been parading riding motorcycles in Malibagh and Rampura areas in the capital since the morning. Some of them were seen holding bamboo sticks and hokey sticks. The ruling party men also took position in Old Dhaka’s Victoria Park and its adjoining areas.

Besides, the AL men brought out anti-strike procession in various places of Dhaka. They were also seen taking position in Mirpur, Uttara and Tejgaon areas.

Certain Mamunur Rashid, who identified himself as an activist of the ruling party and a polytechnic student, told Prothom Alo they won’t allow carrying out any disorder in the name of hartal. That’s why they took position here.

But it’s the duty of police. In reply to query, Mamunur Rashid said since Awami League is in power, it’s their responsibility to protect people’s lives and properties as the activists of the ruling party. They are helping police and administration, he insists.

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