World Bulletin / News Desk
At least six people were killed and scores were injured on Sunday in separate violence countrywide on the first day of a three-day general strike, known locally as "Hartal", called by the opposition to demand non-party election-time government.
Maruf Sheikh, a 20-year-old an activist of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was shot dead and 11 other were injured in clashes with police in Faridpur, a district in central Bangladesh.
Police and witnesses said the clashes broke out around 8:00am as police obstructed some strike supporters while trying to put barricades on a road.
Shajahan Ali, 38, another BNP activist, was killed in a clash between two groups of the party in the northern district of Bogora, one of the oldest towns in northern Bangladesh, sources said.
A third BNP activist, Siddique, was killed in Narayanganj, a city in central Bangladesh, in a clash with the ruling party's supporters, the opposition party claimed.
But police insisted the report was a mere rumor.
In a written statement, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (BJI) claimed that its member Mohammad Julhas, 35, was killed by police on a highway in North Bengal.
Alamgir Hossain Shimul, a 35-year-old activist of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) Party, was killed while leading an anti-strike march in Jessore, a district in the southwestern tip of the country.
Police said he was attacked by a procession of pro-strike supporters at around 9,30am.
In Pirojpur, a district in south-western Bangladesh, 38-year-old BAL activist Swapan Shil was killed and two were injured in an attack allegedly by some opposition activists, police sources said.
Bangladesh was almost shutdown on the first day of the general strike, which began at 6am, with most private and public school, college and universities closed.
Supermarkets and shops also shut down, while traffic movement on highways and major streets nationwide came to almost a standstill.
According to Dhaka Metropolitan Police officials more than 12,000 additional policemen have deployed and remain on high alert at different points of the capital, Dhaka.
At least seven people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes that erupted in several areas of the South Asian country on Friday.
The 18-party opposition alliance, led by BNP president and former premier Khaleda Zia, is demanding the formation of a non-partisan government to supervise the upcoming parliamentary elections.
But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the BAL leader, has ruled out the idea, instead proposing the formation of an all-party interim government.
Under the country's recently amended constitution, elections must be held 90 days before the outgoing parliament ends its tenure on January 24.