Hartal observed in SylhetStaff Correspondent . Sylhet
A dawn-to-dusk general strike called by the local unit of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party in Sylhet division was observed peacefully on Thursday protesting at the disappearance of BNP organising secretary M Elias Ali.
Sylhet city was volatile on Thursday with rallies and processions carried out by the BNP and its front organisations.
The BNP has called a nationwide dawn-to-dusk general strike for Sunday.
The party activists and well-wishers of Elias Ali observed the hartal in Sylhet and three other districts of Sylhet division to register their protest and to know the whereabouts of the missing leader.
All modes of motorised vehicles stayed off the streets and all shops, shopping malls and market places in the city were closed for the hartal, local sources said.
The education institutions in the city and its outskirts remained closed on the day and Sylhet education board authorities had declared suspension of the scheduled Higher Secondary Certificate examinations for Thursday, sources at Sylhet education board said.
BNP and its front organisation leaders and activists started to bring out processions from different areas and held rallies in the city from early morning on the day to drum up support for the hartal, eyewitnesses said.
The pro-hartal activists started to move in small processions towards the Court Point from different parts in the city and its suburbs at around noon and held a series of rallies there over the day, demanding immediate information on Elias Ali’s whereabouts.
The entire city centre that includes Court Point, City Point, Surma Point, Bandarbazar and Zindabazar turned into a huge assembly of protestors during the hartal hours.
Addressing the rallies arranged one after another by the BNP and its front organizations, the local opposition leaders held the government responsible for the incident of disappearance of Elias Ali.
They said that Elias Ali disappeared as part of a government plot to stop the anti-government movement in the country.
The BNP leaders at the rallies said they would not go back home from the street movement without releasing Elias Ali, sources present at the programmes said.
BNP city unit president MA Haque, central executive member Abul Kaher Shamim, former lawmaker Dildar Hosen Selim, former city unit convener Shahriar Hossain Chowdhury, district general secretary Abdul Gaffar and organising secretary Ali Ahmed, Swechchhasebak Dal central vice-president Shamsuzzaman Zaman, BNP leader Rezaul Hasan Ludi, Farhad Chowdhury Shamim, Makhan Miah, ATM Fayez, Roksana Begum Shahnaz, Shahanara Begum Shanu, Dinar Khan Hasu and central Chhatra Dal leader Abdul Ahad Khan, among others, addressed the rallies.
No incident of clash was reportedly from anywhere in the city or elsewhere in the district during the daylong hartal.
“No unwanted incident took place in the city and its surrounding areas over the day. The law and order situation was under control… none was detained during the hartal hours,” Sylhet Metropolitan Police additional commissioner Abdullah Al-Azad said.
New Age correspondent in Moulvibazar reported that hartal was observed spontaneously in Moulvibazar district.
All the shops and trading houses were closed and vehicles remained off the roads and highways. At around 11am, a track loaded with fish and a CNG-run three wheeler were damaged by the picketers.
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