>Bangladesh’s military-backed government on Wednesday imposed an indefinite curfew in six major cities, clearing the streets and shutting down cell phones in the wake of worsening violence between students and police.
At least one person died and 100 others were hurt as riots spread across the country since erupting on Monday some soldiers manhandled some students at Dhaka University during a football match.
The government shut down all universities in the country and colleges in the metropolitan cities sine die, asking students to vacate halls and appealed for calm.
“This is a temporary measure. The curfew will be lifted as soon as the situation improves,” Fakhruddin Ahmed, head of Bangladesh’s interim government, said in an address to the nation over state-owned radio and television.
“Showing utmost patience in the evolving situation, the government has taken measures, including the imposition of curfew, to protect public life and property and to stop illegal activities,” he said.
Prior to ordering the curfew, the caretaker government appealed to all concerned to maintain peace and discipline in public life and refrain from disorderly acts and cautioned stern action against the perpetrators in order to bring back normalcy and protect life and property of the citizens.
It also warned tough action against trouble makers and asked the media to play “responsible role” in projecting news so the government does not require to impose censorship under the emergency rules.
“We don’t like to impose censorship, but that does not mean we will not do it if necessary… We’ve confidence in the press and seek cooperation from them,” he told newsmen yesterday.
Students now demand an end to emergency rule, imposed on January 11 following weeks of street violence by major political parties.
Police with loudspeakers urged people to stay home as the curfew came into effect at 8 p.m. Security forces were seen patrolling the deserted streets.
The curfew order came after students took their protests from university campuses to the streets of the capital, burning cars and buses and battling with security forces.
Clashes were also reported elsewhere in the country, including Sylhet in the north and the port of Chittagong in the south.
Students also clashed with police in three other cities.
Huge public and private properties were destroyed.
Wednesday saw the first death in three days of mayhem during day-long clashes between police and thousands of students in and around northeastern Rajshahi University (RU) when around 200 including police and journalists were injured.
The violence poses the most serious challenge to the emergency government since it took power six months ago.
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