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Four killed as anti-govt protestors torch bus in Bangladesh

Dhaka:  Four persons, including a child, were killed and 15 others injured after anti-government protesters set a bus on fire today for defying the nationwide blockade enforced in Bangladesh by opposition BNP, hours after party chief Khaleda Zia’s aide survived an assassination attempt.

The attack on the inter-district bus, which was heading to the capital, took place early this morning in the northern town of Mithapukur as anti-government protesters tried to enforce the blockade called by Bangladesh Nationalist Party, demanding resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

It was the deadliest incident since the outbreak of violence on January 5 over the first anniversary of the controversial polls which was boycotted by opposition parties.

“They (suspected activists) intercepted the bus on Mitapukur area on Dhaka-Rangpur highway and set it ablaze, killing four passengers, including a child whose body was charred beyond recognition, the officer in charge of the nearby police station told media.

Police suspected that activists of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial BNP ally, carried out the attack as the area is known to be a stronghold of theirs.

“We have rounded up eight Jamaat men in overnight raids in the neighbourhood,” the officer said. With the latest arson attack in Rangpur, the toll in the nationwide protests rose to 19 since January 5 when Zia called on supporters to take to the streets against the first anniversary of Hasina’s controversial re-election.

The attack on the bus was made hours after a former junior minister for foreign affairs and adviser to Zia was shot at by unidentified attackers last night.

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