A string of blasts detonated in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka Saturday, when Prime Minister Sheik Hasina barely escaped the effects of three crude bombs that exploded in the Karwan Bazar just minutes after her convoy passed through the business district, according to a Bangladesh-based online newspaper.
At the time of the explosions, Hasina and other supporters of the Bangladesh Awami League, the country’s ruling party, were on their way to attend a 44th-anniversary observance of an historic March 7 address delivered by Sheik Mujibur Rahman, Hasina’s father and the nation’s founder, as BDNews24 reported. It was his last public speech in advance of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
Another five bombs were detonated in Dhaka shortly afterward, as Awami League supporters were exiting a bus that brought them to the party rally. The blasts wounded 14 passengers at an intersection close to the education ministry.
Hasina has led the Awami League since 1981, and she has served as Bangladesh's prime minister since 2009.
Arson attacks and bombings like those Saturday have become increasingly frequent amid political unrest in Bangladesh during the past couple of months. The tensions between the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia have sparked anti-government demonstrations where the violence has claimed 115 lives, according to the Press Trust of India.
“[Zia] is playing ducks and drakes with peoples’ lives ... This will not be tolerated in any way, and she must get her due punishment,” PTI quoted Hasina as saying Friday. “It is a matter of time. [Zia] will not only face the corruption charges, she will have to face charges of killings for giving directives.”
Hasina has also accused Zia of deliberate murders after 55 bus and truck drivers were killed amid the recent political violence. Meanwhile, Zia and her allies have called for 72-hour nationwide strikes beginning Sunday, PTI reported.
General elections in the South Asian country are scheduled for 2019, but the BNP is demanding a midterm election under a neutral caretaker government, PTI said.