Bus owners of Sylhet and Moulvibazar have announced a transport strike ahead of the BNP's scheduled mass rally in Sylhet on 19 November.
Meanwhile, At least 30 including 8 policemen were reportedly injured in a clash between n BNP activists and police in Habiganj's Lakhai.
Sylhet Bus-Minibus Owners' Association called a strike protesting the illegal movement of three-wheelers on highways on 19 November while the Moulvibazar Bus-Minibus Owners' Association called a strike on 18 and 19 November.
BNP leaders of both the districts claimed that the strikes were enforced to thwart the BNP Rally. However, the transport owners' associations denied the allegation.
Similar transport strikes were announced ahead of BNP rallies in Barishal, Khulna, Rangpur, Faridpur and Mymensingh.
30 including 8 police hurt in Habiganj
BNP Leaders and activists in Habiganj's Lakhai upazila claimed that police attacked them when they were holding a preparation meeting ahead of their divisional rally in Sylhet. They further claimed that a number of their men were shot by police and were receiving treatment at the Upazila Health complex and other hospitals and clinics.
Officer-in-Charge of Lakhai Police Station Nunu Mia said, "The BNP men were preparing for violence in Lakhai's Bamoi Bazar. When police intervened, the BNP activists started throwing bricks at the police leaving 8 policemen injured. The police then fired several rounds at self-defence and drove them away.
He added that the injured policemen are being treated at the Lakhai Upazila Health Complex.
Politics in Sylhet heats up
The BNP is carrying out extensive announcements throughout the Sylhet division to make the Saturday's rally a success, but several incidents of clashes were reported during the campaign activities and a number of BNP leaders were arrested by the police in the past few days.
The BNP has alleged that activists of the ruling Awami League are carrying out attacks on its men and law enforcement officials are harassing and arresting them with a view to thwarting the scheduled protest rally.
BNP leaders have also expressed fear that the police may go for mass arrests over opposition leaders and activists before the Saturday's rally, which is why many of them are staying out of home at night.
On the other hand, the police are also fearful that some unpleasant incidents might take place centring the BNP's divisional rally in Sylhet.
On Tuesday afternoon, the car carrying BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia's adviser Tahsina Rushdie Luna was vandalised in Osmaninagar, Sylhet.
Luna, also the wife of missing BNP leader M Ilyas Ali, has alleged that activists of Juba League and Chhatra League vandalised her car in the presence of the police while she was handing out leaflets for the rally.
Luna also said that the police arrested Upazila Chhatra Dal convening committee member Faisal Ahmad Milan and Umarpur Union BNP leader Nurul Islam at that time.
On the same day, Chhatra League, student wing of Awami League, activists allegedly chased a procession brought out by BNP men in Sylhet's BNP Market area. Similarly, a procession brought out by the BNP's student wing Chhatra Dal in Dakkhinbazar of Sylhet's Biyanibazar calling for the success of Saturday's Sylhet divisional rally was chased by Chhatra League, said the BNP.
BNP leaders have also alleged that the police obstructed their activists in Sylhet's Kanaighat on Monday, Golapganj and Moulvibazar on Sunday while they were distributing leaflets for the rally.
But, Awami League and Chhatra League leaders have denied such allegations.
The BNP has been holding rallies on all divisional headquarters of the country since early October on four key demands i.e. unconditional release party chief Khaleda Zia, holding upcoming national polls under a non-partisan caretaker government, controlling the rising prices of essentials, and ending the persecution of BNP men.