1 dead, buses torched ahead of Bangladesh strike

AP News
Posted: Apr 21, 2012 10:07 AM
1 dead, buses torched ahead of Bangladesh strike

Arsonists set fire to buses in Bangladesh's capital ahead of an opposition-sponsored general strike, killing one man, police and media reports said Saturday.

An 18-party opposition alliance will enforce the strike on Sunday to urge the government to find a regional opposition leader who went missing on Tuesday.

Police official Sirajul Islam said a parked bus was set on fire on Saturday in Dhaka's Khilgaon area, killing the 40-year-old driver who was asleep inside.

Islam could not immediately say who was behind the arson.

The United News of Bangladesh agency and several television stations said four other buses were set on fire in parts of Dhaka.

The opposition has blamed security agencies for Elias Ali's disappearance but the government has denied this, accusing the opposition of hiding him in order to create anarchy in the country.

Ali's wife says in a police complaint that her husband left their home in Dhaka late Tuesday and has been missing since along with his driver.

His car was found by residents on a Dhaka street early Wednesday, abandoned and with its doors open.

His disappearance has further complicated Bangladesh's politics. Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been holding anti-government protests for months to demand an independent caretaker government oversee elections. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina scrapped the 15-year-old system last year, saying it contradicted the constitution.

The opposition says elections will be rigged if held under the current government.

General strike is a common opposition tactic to embarrass the government in Bangladesh.