Dhaka, Feb 7: At least nine persons, including three children, were burnt alive in Bangladesh when opposition activists hurled petrol bombs at a packed bus and a truck, the latest in a spate of political violence that has claimed 75 lives so far.
Three persons were burnt to death after a truck was attacked early today in southwestern Barisal area as opposition leader Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) enforced a transport blockade for the 29th consecutive day.
In a separate incident last night, six persons, including three children, were killed and 30 others injured when opposition activists firebombed a bus in northwestern Gaibandha.
The fresh attacks came hours after the BNP said it would intensify its anti-government campaign, enforcing 72 hours of general strike from tomorrow which would go simultaneously with their non-stop blockade.
The attacks were the latest spasm of violence in a nationwide transportation blockade called by the opposition to pressurise Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign and announce new elections. BNP was virtually in a state of disarray since it boycotted last year's elections but it waged a fierce campaign coinciding with the first anniversary of the controversial January 5 polls.
Hasina: We will not bow down to these heinous criminals
Prime Minister Hasina rejected the demand and asked Zia to wait until 2019 for the next scheduled polls and prepare her party for the elections by "wining the peoples' heart". She said her government would not "surrender" to the ongoing violence.
"We will not bow down to these heinous criminals," she said and blasted her archrival Zia, saying "her perception of good and evil has been diluted. She has gone mad". Meanwhile, a UN spokesperson said in New York that the world body would continue its efforts to help feuding parties resolve their differences.
"We'll continue to be in touch with the leaders of the two main parties, trying to make sure that they can resolve their differences," local media quoted UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Farhan Haq as saying.