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Saturday, May 25, 2024

A train set on fire by protesters in Bangladesh

The exact number of passengers on the train from the northern district of Netrokona to the capital, Dhaka, remains unclear.

A train set on fire by protesters in Bangladesh

Protesters in Bangladesh ignited a train on Tuesday during a nationwide strike led by the opposition, resulting in the deaths of four individuals, including a mother and child. The opposition called for the government’s resignation ahead of the upcoming general elections in the following month, leading to escalating anti-government demonstrations. In recent weeks, numerous buses and vehicles have been set ablaze, resulting in at least six fatalities since the eruption of violence during an opposition rally on October 28.

A fire service official, Shahjahan Shikder, reported, “Strike supporters set fire to three compartments of an express train,” with four bodies recovered from one of the compartments, including a 32-year-old woman and her three-year-old son. The exact number of passengers on the train from the northern district of Netrokona to the capital, Dhaka, remains unclear. The unrest also involves the removal of sections of the railway line at various locations, according to Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, who expressed challenges in securing such an extensive railway network. He pledged to deploy 2,700 paramilitary troops within days to prevent further incidents.

BNP demanding resignation 

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), facing leadership detentions and exile, insists on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s resignation and the establishment of a neutral government to oversee the January 7 polls, which they intend to boycott. Prime Minister Hasina, seeking a fourth consecutive term, rejects the calls for her resignation, attributing recent street protests and violence to the BNP. In response, the BNP threatens to boycott the upcoming general election unless a neutral government is allowed to conduct it, hoping to delegitimize Hasina’s potential victory and possibly invite international sanctions.

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In the aftermath of the train incident, a senior BNP leader, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, urged a judicial inquiry, describing the train fire as “sabotage” carried out with the assistance of illegal and anti-people forces. As the political tension escalates, human rights groups accuse the government of targeting opposition figures, a claim denied by the authorities. Western nations are pressuring Bangladesh to ensure free, fair, and participatory elections amid concerns about the political climate