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Monday 12 March 2012

Restrictions all around


Capital totally isolated

The communications between Dhaka and other parts of the country disrupted severely since Sunday morning as the buses were kept off roads and launches were barred to anchor at the terminal ahead of the March 12 rally in the capital. Visiting Gabtoli Bus Terminal, our reporter found that thousands of people were waiting there since the morning as the transport union leaders forced the bus owners to keep the vehicles off the road.
Meanwhile, most of the long-distance buses were seen parked inside Sayedabad bus terminal in the morning.Making stopover at different city bus stoppages, our correspondents report that almost all of the bus companies kept their vehicles off the road for 'fear of anarchy' as well as safety concerns.
Due to take off buses in the city, the traffic movements almost remain one of hartal days.
On both sides of the streets in the city, thousands of people were seen waiting for public transports.
The transport union leaders were seen beating some bus drivers at Gabtoli bus terminal when they were trying to operate some inter-district buses.They also vandalised two long-route buses around 8:30am at the bus terminal, bringing a total halt to the transport movement.After that, no long-distance buses were seen leaving or entering the terminal.The union leaders were also seen to force commuters to vacate several long-route buses at the terminal.
Motaleb, an elderly person, who came to Dhaka from Sylhet with his wife and three sons Saturday night, was seen waiting at Gabtoli Bus Terminal for buses for Pabna."I have an urgent work to do in Pabna. Now, I don't know what I will do," saying this he sat on road in his utter despair.
Talking to another young lady whose name was not available, our correspondent reports, the lady first went to Sadarghat Launch Terminal for a launch ticket for Barisal.As she failed to get one, she rushed to the bus terminal and was waiting when this report was filed around 10:00am.
Sharif Miah, an office staff of Hanif Paribahan at Kalyanpur branch, told our correspondent that a single bus of their company has not left or entered the city this morning.Hafiz, manager of Shyamoli Paribahan at Kalyanpur branch, also echoed Sharif.The lone bus that left the terminal in the morning is for Kolkata, Hafiz said.
After visiting Sadarghat Launch Terminal our correspondent reported that Awami League-backed workers obstructed some launches to anchor at the terminal.At around 6:00am, when three launches -- Kalam Khan-1, Sundarban-8 and Parabat -- reached the launch terminal carrying the people from Barisal, Bhola, Bagerhat, Patuakhali and other southern districts, the ghat workers barred those to anchor.Seeking anonymity owner of a launch said, "The Awami League-backed workers are obstructing the launches to anchor at the launch terminal."
Passengers of the three launches however managed to get down by boats.Another correspondent adds that the ghat labourers also pelted brickbats on the passengers who tried to get off the launch.The workers also chased the three launches with boats and trawlers when those headed towards Shyambazar and Postogola to offload passengers.
Our Manikganj correspondent reports: The road and river communications between Dhaka and Manikganj were also disrupted.The launch services on Paturia-Daulatdia route remained suspended since Saturday afternoon.Paturia-Daulatdia route is the key route of communications between the capital and southwestern districts of the country.The Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) ferries were only seen to carry good-laden trucks. Only three buses were seen to cross the river till the report was filed at 11:45am Sunday.
Hundreds of people who had gone their village home during the two day weekend, could not return to their working place in Dhaka as no long-route buses were plying on the Dhaka-Manikganj highway.
Meanwhile, security was beefed up in Manikganj ahead of the March 12 mass rally of BNP.Md Nurul Islam, inspector of Manikganj traffic police, told The Daily Star that several additional police check posts were set up in the town fearing anarchy ahead of the opposition rally.

On Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM, Isha Khan <> wrote:
Restrictions all around

Guests 'not allowed' in hotels, apartments, bachelors' messes

A hotel in Naya Paltan in the capital closes its collapsible gate and hangs a sign that it is closed between March 9 and March 12, the day opposition BNP is to hold its rally in the area. The opposition parties have been alleging that law enforcers threatened the hoteliers into closing shop so that out-of-town BNP men could not stay in Dhaka for the rally. Photo: Rashed ShumonStaff Correspondent

"Is there any outsider in this house?" asked one of them.It was around 12:45am yesterday at a five-room bachelor mess in Uttara, Dhaka. Mohammad Yeasin, an apparel merchandiser, was preparing for sleep in his room.Suddenly, he heard somebody banging on the door. As he opened the door, six to seven people walked in, woke up the residents and searched all the rooms.

The plainclothes officers carrying pistols and handcuffs ordered Yeasin and others not to allow any outsider in the house for the next two to three days. Then they left in a police van, a car and two bikes.Similar incidents took place in some other bachelor messes and also residential areas like Japan Garden City in Mohammadpur, sending waves of panic across the city.

Ultra-conscious and over-enthusiastic, police have stepped up their vigil for the last couple of days, saying they are working to prevent subversive activities centring the March 12 rally of BNP.The opposition called the rally to press home their demand for the caretaker government system.

Yesterday morning, Yeasin said, all the boarders gave names, professional details and mobile phone numbers to the house owner who needed those for submitting to Uttara Police Station."It was quite scary… the way the men searched and inquired us," he told The Daily Star. "Where will we go if we cannot be in peace even in our rooms?"

The situation in many city hotels is also not that different. Police are issuing threats to conduct sudden raids if their instructions are not followed. The hoteliers are not taking any new boarder; some even put on notice that reads, "No room available".

Police have orders to arrest suspected strangers from messes, hotels, residential buildings in the capital. They have to strictly monitor all the entry points so that no strangers can enter the city.Around 11:30am on Wednesday, two persons were harassed by police as they arrived at Jatrabari from Comilla.

One of the two, Mohammad Jasim, said law enforcers stopped them at Jatrabari intersection and without explaining the reason asked them to go back to Comilla.Finally, the duo managed to reach their destination in Old Dhaka after one of their acquaintances talked to police over the phone.

Around 10:30pm on Thursday, a team of six police men came to Japan Garden City, said a resident of Building No 11 at the housing project, wishing not to be named.They asked all the security guards to convey a message to the residents not to allow any "guests, especially males" till March 13. If any guest arrives, nearby Adabor Police Station must know it.

A similar instruction was passed to city hotels, pushing many to closure till March 12.

Yesterday, a notice was found at the gate of Hotel Midway International in the city's Paltan. It reads, "Due to unavoidable reason, the hotel will remain closed till March 12."

Some hoteliers told The Daily Star that they were asked not to receive any guest until the opposition's March 12 programme passes off."Because the boarders might carry arms," said a hotel manager at Farmgate, preferring anonymity.

A Naya Paltan hotel staff said they were refusing guests, saying the intelligence officials might raid any time looking for opposition leaders and activists.As a correspondent of The Daily Star approached a hotel in Rampura area to be a boarder, the manager said, "Please don't stay in a hotel, not even in a mess with friends. Try to stay at your relative's for the sake of your own security."


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