B’desh violence eases ahead of oppn deadline

Dhaka, October 31:

Bangladesh saw a lull in deadly violence today ahead of an opposition deadline for the new caretaker government to revamp the election commission and guarantee fair polls in January.

The country has been rocked by several days of violent protests after the Islamist-allied coalition government came to the end of its five-year term.

The protests were sparked as president Iajuddin Ahmed’s decided to name himself head of a caretaker government tasked with organising the polls.

The opposition Awami League has now given the president until Friday to meet a string of demands.

“All the inter-district buses have been operating throughout the country. Things are normal everywhere other than a few isolated incidents,” national police chief Anwarul Iqbal said.

At least two more people were reported to have died and 37 were injured in fresh clashes yesterday between supporters of the outgoing Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government and opposition parties, taking the overall death toll to 23.

Police, however, said that the situation across the country was now calm.

Millions also began returning to cities from their villages having been stranded in the countryside by transport blockades.

In Dhaka, private cars and buses were back on the roads. The city of Chittagong, the country’s biggest port, resumed operations with the end of an opposition blockade, port director Kamrul Hossain said.

Meanwhile, outgoing president Ahmed began work by seeking names from all main parties for senior posts in the caretaker body.