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3 August, 2018 00:00 00 AM

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Dhaka crippled as students’ protests enter 5th day

Students mange traffic on most roads
STAFF REPORTER
Dhaka crippled as students’ protests enter 5th day
Students of various educational institutions hold placards calling for justice and safe roads at Shahbagh intersection yesterday. Inset, students demonstrate obstructing the road near Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital. Photos: Nabiulla Nabi

The students’ movement for safe roads entered the fifth straight day yesterday as they braved rains to gather on streets across the capital. The protester’s unique move of checking licences of drivers and papers of vehicles, including those of the police, was intensified in the day as reports of such acts came in from most of the important intersections. They virtually managed traffic on most of the roads of the capital.

Although city residents expressed support to the cause of the students, commuters had to suffer moving from one place to another, as the number of vehicles was moving slowly due to checking of papers. To make matters worse, most of the public transport was off the streets in the capital. Transport workers said they felt unsafe on the streets because of the movement.  

People were seen waiting at bus terminals like Gabtoli, Sayedabad, Mahakhali, as inter-district buses were not available.

Wearing uniforms, students of schools and colleges of the capital gathered at various points, including Uttara, Farmgate, Karwarn Bazar, Shahbagh, Science Lab, New Market, Jatrabari, Shantinagar and Shanirakhra.

Drenched in the heavy rain, students were seen checking registration papers of vehicles and licences of drivers. They handed over vehicles without papers to the traffic police, so that cases could be filed.  

The students were seen instructing drivers of private cars to wear seatbelts and motorbikers to wear helmets. If

pillion riders were found without helmet, they were made to get off the bike and to go on foot. Drivers were being told not to talk on the mobile phone or smoke while driving. Even vehicles of the police were not spared. If driver’s licence and papers were not found, the vehicles were kept aside. Several police vans did not have licences or registration papers of the transport department.

Students stopped a black jeep of the Deputy Inspector General of the Naval Police, Habib, when he was passing through the Karwan Bazar area. They asked for papers of the vehicle, but the vehicle did not have registration papers and the driver did not have a licence. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police has instructed the police to carry licences of drivers and registration papers of vehicles in the present situation.

However, students were seen assisting ambulances carrying patients to move easily. Although the government had announced shutdown of educational institutions, it did not deter students from gathering on the streets to protest the killing of two students in a road accident on Sunday. Students, carrying backpack with food and water, said they want safe roads, so that none of their brothers and sisters dies in road accidents.

Several hundreds of students gathered at the Shahbagh intersection and checked licences of each vehicle.  Two vehicles of the Border Guard Bangladesh were stopped and the drivers asked to show papers and licence. When the drivers said the papers were at home, the students told them to bring the papers.

The students also stopped the vehicle of the Prime Minister’s principal secretary, Nojibur Rahman, who was not in the vehicle. The students wanted to see the driver’s licence, but it had not been renewed. Sergeant Jafar Imama filed a case. He said the car belonged to the principal secretary.  

Amid the movement, transport owners have reduced the number of vehicles plying on the streets, as they are feeling insecure because of the unrest. All the vehicles will be brought out when the situation calms down, organising secretary of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association, Mahbubur Rahman, told the media.

Buses were seen parked on the roadside at the Gabtoli inter-district bus terminal, where passengers were waiting for hours for a bus to catch to reach their destination.  

The vehicular movement came to a standstill at Uttara, on the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, as students blocked the road in the morning. Even some guardians joined the movement.

Besides the students, guardians and others, like media personalities, expressed their solidarity and stood beside them on the streets. Actors, actresses, directors and other artists yesterday stood before Mascat Plaza in Uttara to express their solidarity with the agitating students. Among them, Lutfar Rahman, Rownak Hasan, Mishu, Sabbir, Nadia Ahmed, Safayet and Sagor Jahan were present. They said the student movement is a reflection of the people’s demands. They also want implementation of the demands. They could not come to the streets, but the students have done it. They salute the students.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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