Countrywide half-day hartal underway

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hortal_gonojagaranmanchDaily Dhaka Times: A shutdown called by the Ganajagaran Mancha is being observed across Bangladesh to protest the attacks on publishers and writers.

Activists of the Ganajagaran Mancha have been demonstrating at Dhaka’s Shahbagh since early on Tuesday.

No vehicles are passing through the intersection—one of the busiest points in Dhaka.

A protest rally is also being held at the capital’s Paltan area.

Meanwhile, students of Jahangirnagar University have blocked the Dhaka-Aricha Highway in support of the shutdown.

Traffic was rather thin in Dhaka in first two hours of the six-hour shutdown, which ends at 12pm.

Tuesday’s JSC and JDC exams will start four hours later at 2pm instead of 10pm, the education ministry said on Monday.

Publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, who ran the Jagriti Prokashony, was murdered on Saturday in his office at Dhaka’s Shahbagh hours after unknown assailants attacked the office of publishing house Suddhaswar and hacked three people, including its owner and publisher Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul.

During a demonstration the next day, Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarkar set the government a deadline of 48 hours to nab the assailants and called for the shutdown to back their demand.

“Those who differ with the radicals are being threatened and murdered one by one,” Sarkar told a rally on the eve of the shutdown on Monday.

Ganajagaran Mancha is a platform created to push for ban on religious politics and punishment to those convicted of ‘crimes against humanity ‘ during the 1971 Liberation War.

They started their protests in Feb 2013.

On the tenth day of the protests, one of its leading figures Ahmed Rajib Haider was hacked to death in Dhaka.

Since then several blogger and online activists, who supported Mancha, were killed in a similar way, with machete wielding assailants targeting the head and shoulder.

The latest attack was on Saturday targeting two publishers, which left one dead and three severely injured.

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