At least nine buses were torched in different parts of the capital within the span of a few hours yesterday which police suspect was part of a plot to carry out subversive activities. No casualty was reported.
Law enforcers arrested a suspect with a crude bomb around noon from the capital’s Uttara where by-election to Dhaka-18 constituency was being held. Nine more people were picked up from Nayapaltan area.
“Torching of the buses was part of a plot to destabilise law and order through subversive activities,” Md Walid Hossain, deputy commissioner of the Media and Public Relations Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told the media.
Nine buses were set on fire at different places, he mentioned.
The vehicles were torched between 12:30pm and 4:30pm, according to the Fire Service and Civil Defence and witnesses.
Following the arson incidents, police cordoned off the BNP central office at Nayapaltan in the evening.
BNP spokesperson Imran Saleh Prince said law enforcers picked up seven BNP leaders and activists while the party men were trying to enter the office.
DMP Deputy Commissioner Walid said police arrested a man named Sohel with a crude bomb from Uttara around noon while he was trying to carry out “subversive activities”.
The arrestee, who lives in Tongi College Road area, was a hired hand, he added.
Scrutinising CCTV footages and talking to witnesses, police identified several attackers, said the official.
While the buses were set on fire, polling was going on in Dhaka-18 constituency where BNP candidate SM Jahangir Hossain claimed his agents were forced out of several centres by ruling party men and law enforcers.
The arson incidents took place outside the polling areas. The first one happened in front of Modhumita Cinema at Motijheel at about 12:30pm, followed by torching of a bus on Bangabandhu Avenue and another in front of Aziz Super Market at Shahbagh around 1:30pm; one at Shahjahanpur and one near the northern gate of the secretariat around 2:00pm; one in Bongshal area at about 2:30pm; one in front of Pubali Petrol Pump in Motijheel area at about 3:00pm; and another on Progati Sarani around 4:30pm.
Abu Bakar Siddique, officer-in-charge of Paltan Police Station, said a government minibus was set on fire around 12:30pm on the north side of the BNP central office.
He said they picked up nine people from Nayapaltan area on suspicion of involvement in subversive activities.