Millennium Post

B’desh postpones SSC exams as Oppn’s strike begins

Bangladesh Opposition BNP on Sunday began its 72-hour strike alongside its ongoing countrywide blockade forcing the government to reschedule Monday’s high-school exams to Friday, even as two persons died in fresh violence overnight pushing the death toll to 45.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party earlier defied appeals by parents of the 1.5 million schoolchildren undergoing the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations. 

“Inhuman activities are taking place across the country in the name of hartal and blockade. We cannot push our students to such violence, ignoring our responsibility. So, we took a decision to reschedule the exams,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told reporters.

The BNP-led 20-party alliance has rejected calls to end its violent blockade that began on the first anniversary of the controversial elections won by Awami League’s Sheikh Hasina, and boycotted by her arch-rival Khaleda Zia.

69-year-old Zia, confined to her office since threatening to rally her supporters against the government, has said the ongoing blockade and shutdown would continue until “victory” is achieved. Her confinement has coincided with the death of her youngest son in Malaysia. 

Zia called the strike to intensify pressure on Hasina to hold fresh polls. The strike also marked an escalation in violence by suspected blockaders with two more deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
One of the persons who died was said to be an activist of BNP’s crucial ally Jamaat-e-Islami. Police said he was killed in a “shootout” in Mirpur area near Dhaka last night. 

Reports said anti-government protesters carried out sporadic attacks on buses, trucks and ferries in different parts of the country. 

At least 10 people were wounded. Political analysts and civil society members said the current unrest has virtually pushed Bangladesh into a state of “political wilderness”.

Leading constitutional expert Swadhin Malik said if the government wants to exercise more power, “they will have to proclaim state of emergency”.

Senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta yesterday said the situation might prompt the government to “adopt alternative constitutional means.” 


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