Arson attacks continue in Bangladesh

Arson attacks continue in Bangladesh
People try to comfort widow Selina Begum on her front yard yesterday after she heard the news of her only son getting burnt to death by pickets in Barisal. The photo was taken in Shakarpasha village of Nagarkanda upazila in Faridpur.

Fear of arson attacks that have been the ugliest aspect of the ongoing blockade grips long-route travellers and city commuters alike.

Showing no sign of abating, petrol bomb attacks on vehicles by suspected blockaders continued yesterday, the 13th day of the BNP-led alliance's non-stop blockade across the country.

A truck helper was burnt to death as alleged pro-blockade pickets hurled a petrol bomb at the vehicle in Uzirpur upazila of Barisal, raising the death toll to 25 in blockade violence.

Of the victims, nine died of burn injuries from attacks by suspected blockaders.

Alleged blockaders yesterday torched at least 14 vehicles in different parts of the country, according to the fire service.

In an arson attack on a bus around noon, two students of Eden College suffered burns at Khejur Bagan near the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.

At least 34 victims received treatment at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital alone since the blockade began on January 6, said hospital sources.

At present, 18 are being treated at the unit.

City dwellers, especially those who use public transport, are in a state of panic over arson attacks. Many commuters now avoid buses and take rickshaws to reach their destinations.

"Every time I get into a bus, I fear that a petrol bomb may be hurled at the vehicle any time. Things get even more frightening after the evening. It is a scary and suffocating situation we are now in," said Aminul Islam, employee of a private bank.

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