Dhaka-Kolkata train firebombed in troubled Bangladesh

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Dhaka, Feb 8: Passengers on a train coming from Kolkata today had a narrow escape when miscreants hurled petrol bombs at the 'Maitree Express' train in Bangladesh on the first day of a fresh 72-hour strike enforced by the opposition.

The attack is the latest in a spate of political violence that has claimed 75 lives so far in Bangladesh, where the opposition BNP has clamped an indefinite countrywide blockade.

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However, no casualty was reported in the incident that occurred near the Iswardi Railway Station at Pabna, police said.

At least nine persons, including three children, were burnt alive when similar attacks occurred in the past two days as opposition activists hurled petrol bombs at a packed bus and a truck.

Miscreants blasted the petrol-bombs at the engine of the train near Iswardi Railway Station, on its way back to Dhaka from Kolkata, around 2:55pm (local time), said Sayedur Rahman, assistant director of Bangladesh Railway.

"No one was hurt. No major damage was done as the train did not catch fire," The Daily Star Online quoted him as saying. "The train will head for Dhaka after its engine is changed," he said.

According to a report in bdnews24.com, Railway police OC Humayun Kabir said three bombs were lobbed at the Dhaka bound train as soon as it reached a Loco Shed after leaving the Iswardi station. The attack caused minor damages as the bombs exploded under the wheels of the train's engine. Initial reports did not mention if any person was arrested in this connection.

The incident took place on the first day of a fresh 72-hour spell of general strike, that began today, sponsored by the BNP-led 20-party alliance. Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has already enforced a countrywide transport blockade that entered its 30th consecutive day today.

PTI

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