The Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka said 23-year-old Constable Siddhartha Chandra Sarkar died hours after he was flown to the facility by a private helicopter ambulance from northwestern Rajshahi with fatal injuries.

Eight other policemen were also injured and they are being treated at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) after the activists set ablaze the police patrol van using a crude bomb.

Doctors said the blast had ripped open Sarkar's lungs while the others received serious splinter injuries.

Sarkar is the second policemen to have died two days after unidentified miscreants set ablaze a police bus carrying traffic constables using petrol and firebombs, killing a policeman instantly.

Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker said members of the main law enforcement agency were being targeted through planned attacks to cripple the state machinery during the violent political protests.

The Rajshahi police said the activists carried out the attack apparently to avenge the detention of 20 others earlier on Friday following information of possible subversive activities to destabilize the government ahead of their December 29 ‘March for Democracy’.

But BNP leader and mayor of Rajshahi Mizanur Rahman Minu denied the allegation saying, "We don't know who carried out the attack on police but it could be an act of government supporters to blame the opposition."

The authorities on Friday deployed army troops across Bangladesh ‘in aid of civil administration’ to maintain peace and order ahead of the controversial January 5 elections, that are being boycotted by the Opposition.

The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance is spearheading a fierce campaign for elections to be held under a non-party caretaker government with an ‘acceptable person’ as its head replacing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and have demanded shelving of the January 5 polls.

The violence has escalated since the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance refused to take part in the elections after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spurned its demands to quit and install a neutral caretaker government to oversee polls.

The government last week called in more paramilitary forces and police to contain the raging violence that has claimed around 130 lives since October.


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