The Bangladesh Government deployed paramilitary troops overnight and asked all the police agencies and other law enforcement bodies to intensify security vigil as a three-day nationwide transport blockade called by the main opposition BNP began their attack on October 31, 2023 escalating tensions after two days of deadly violence in two days.
Paramilitary Force Deployment
The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) said they will have deployed forces across the country while several hundred paramilitary personnel would be on patrol in the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka.
According to a spokesperson of the BGB platoons are dispatched country wide to maintain law and order and guard major highways, while the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalions said that they too will be on high alert in major cities.
On October 30, 2023, the Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal convened a meeting of the core committee on law-and-order affairs and reviewed the security situation with the senior officials of the police and other law enforcement and security agencies.
“The heads of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been asked to remain extra-vigilant against any type of sabotage on the 72 hours of opposition blockade,” an official familiar with the meeting said.
The same day some unidentified miscreants, set fire on two static empty buses in the southeastern part of Chattogram and Gazipur town on the out skirts of the capital, creating panic in the neighbourhoods. No casualties were reported in the arsons but the police and fire service officials said that both buses were severely gutted.
Causes of the Blockade
The opposition blockade starts a day after two garment workers died in clashes with the police as they went on a rampage demanding higher wages in the Gazipur Industrial District, visibly a development having links with politics. But according to officials concerned in home and labour ministries directives were sent to settle the workers interests through tripartite negotiations to prevent any situation that could further fuel the political turmoil.
The factory workers have been staging protests for the past one week for higher wages as and earlier government formed wage board was yet to reach an agreement with factory owners and labour representatives.
Damage and Destruction
At least four people, including an on-duty policeman and three activists of Sheik Hasina’s ruling Awami League and the former premier Khaleeda Zia’s BNP were killed on October 28 and October 29, 2023, in Dhaka and elsewhere. The BNP on October 28, 2023 called a grand protest meeting rally activists and they staged a peace rally in the capital amid brewing tensions over the upcoming general elections expected to be held in January 2024.
Despite security vigils, the BNP workers hacked to death a police constable, set ablaze several ambulances at Rajarbagh Central Police Hospital, a police booth, and several vehicles, including buses elsewhere in the city on the day, when over 200 people were wounded.
The BNP rally ended abruptly as the police fired tear gas shells and canisters to tame unruly elements,” visibly prompting the opposition to call a nationwide stoppage on October 29, 2023, when the police arrested its defacto leader and secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir arrested for instigating violence.
During the day-long general strike, the two activists of the ruleing and main opposition parties were killed-one in Dhaka and the other in northeast Lalmonirhat amid widespread violence.