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Passengers suffer as cops stop and search buses
In an apparent attempt to prevent city's Suhrawardy Udyan-bound Jatiya Oikyafront leaders and activists from joining its rally, police yesterday checked every bus at all entry points on the city, while the Narayanganj to Dhaka train service remained halted for over six hours, causing passengers to suffer.
Police took over five minutes, in some instances 10, to search each bus before allowing it to enter the city through any major entry point like Gabtoli, Shanir Akhra and Abdullahpur, witnesses said.
This caused severe traffic jams on the roads linked to the capital, even though there were a few buses, especially long-route ones, on the roads.
Many were seen leaving the buses stuck in jam and walking kilometers towards the city from the outskirts.
Police said the search in the checkpoints is a part of their regular job, which they intensified by adding force members to prevent any act of sabotage centering Oikyafront's rally at Suhrawardy Udyan yesterday.
The Dhaka-Aricha highway was affected the most as hundreds of buses were stuck for hours near two checkpoints in Amin Bazar and Gabtoli, witnesses said.
The buses checked by Dhaka District police at Amin Bazar were rechecked by Dhaka Metropolitan Police at Gabtoli, just 300 yards away from the first checkpoint, witnesses said.
No buses were allowed to go unchecked.
Speaking to The BDchronicle, a polytechnic student Shagor Hossain said it took around five hours to reach Gabtoli from Savar, after starting at 10:00am, due to the tailback
A Dhaka-bound businessman Yousuf Anowar boarded a bus from Nabinagar bus-stand around 9:00am. He had to abandon his trip at Hemayetpur due to the traffic jam and returned to Nabinagar in another bus.
Saidur Rahman, additional superintendant of police in Dhaka district (Savar), said police were checking buses for security reasons.
During a visit to the Amin Bazar checkpoint, a correspondent saw police entering the buses after intercepting them and searching the bodies of “suspicious people” and their luggage.
The Narayanganj-Dhaka train service remained halted from 9:00am.
Rail officials blamed a fault in the rail tracks for it but at least two officials, preferring anonymity, said the service was halted upon a request from the higher authorities.
On the Dhaka-Sylhet and Dhaka-Chattogram highways in Narayanganj, police also searched auto-rickshaws, Legunas, and private cars.
Law enforcers allegedly picked up a good number of people from different buses suspecting they were headed to the rally, witnesses said, adding that a group of people picked up by police chanted “anti-government slogans” while being taken away in a prison van in the city's Paltan area around 3:00pm.
Police picked up at least 88 suspected BNP men from different roads, said Faruk Hossain, additional superintendent of police in the district.
The detainees are BNP men who were heading to Dhaka to take part in “subversive activities”, he said.
A huge number of police men were deployed in the city and people were searched at different checkpoints. The presence of public buses and private vehicles were thin, forcing many to walk to their destinations.