1 killed, Oppn gears up for national blockade
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A fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami leader was Tuesday killed in Bangladesh in a clash with security forces as the opposition geared up for a non-stop nationwide blockade from the New Year to derail the January 5 polls.
Police said local Jamaat leader Abdul Jabbar was killed in a clash between the opposition activists and joint forces, comprising paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and police, in western Meherpur district, bordering India.
"The members of the law enforcement agencies were injured in the gunfight," a police official told a TV channel.
In the capital Dhaka, BNP activists took out processions and exploded bombs in old part of the city as it called for a nationwide protest Tuesday.
The main opposition BNP led by Khaleda Zia Monday night called for the nationwide blockade of roads, railways and waterways after it was barred for the second consecutive day from staging the "march for democracy" in the capital.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance has been demanding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's resignation and scrapping of the polls.
BNP Chairperson's Advisor Khandker Mahbub Hossain said the non-stop nationwide blockade starting from January 1 would continue until further announcement.
He asked opposition activists to stage "peaceful" protest rallies across the country Tuesday as a warm-up exercise.
The opposition has dubbed the polls as "farcical" as over half of the candidates in the 300-seat parliament were set to be declared unopposed in the absence of rival contenders from the opposition.
The alliance earlier enforced identical blockades for nearly a month from November 26 after the Election Commission declared the schedule for the polls amid stalemate over the nature of poll-time government.