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Blast rocks area near Indian president's hotel in Dhaka
Publication Date : 05-03-2013
The volatile situation in Bangladesh once again became the highlight on the second day of the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee in Dhaka.
A crude bomb exploded outside the hotel where the president is staying at around 2pm yesterday. No one was injured in the explosion and Indian authorities as well as Bangladesh police were quick to deny that it was a serious explosion.
Reports emanating out of Dhaka suggesting that the army had been called out were also dismissed by officers of the Bangladesh police.
The internal situation in Bangladesh and the three-day strike called by the Jamaat-e-Islami, coinciding with the visit of the president from March 3-5, has crippled life in Dhaka. Cabs were not running and a general sense of unease prevailed in the city. Though the bomb did not injure anyone, it did help bring the focus back on the strike.
Meanwhile, four more people were killed in fresh clashes in Satkheera and Sirazganj by protesting Jamaat members today, taking the toll since last Thursday to over 80.
In a statement issued by the press secretary to the President, it was stated that none of the delegation members heard the explosion.
“Bangladesh authorities have informed that about an hour back, a crude cocktail was found and they are investigating into the matter.
Indian security officials have expressed the view that this was a minor explosion. Bursting of such cocktails is common in Bangladesh during hartals and it cannot be described as a bomb,” noted the statement.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police officer Chowdhury Mozurul Kabir briefed the media after news of the explosion broke and said, “It was a small (fire) cracker. The explosion took place at 2pm, on the middle of the road away from the hotel.” Kabir dismissed media reports emanating out of Dhaka that the army had been called in to help control the situation.
Meanwhile, the president earlier in the day spoke at the Dhaka University Convocation ceremony, where he said that Bangladesh is the first country that he was visiting as the President of India. He reiterated India’s stand on Teesta and the Land Boundary Agreement.
"The sharing of the waters of our common rivers is a high priority for us. We have successfully forged agreements in the past and are hopeful of arriving at an early accord on the sharing of the Teesta waters.”
He said India plans to introduce a Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament to give effect to the provisions of the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh and its 2011 Protocol.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina described Mukherjee as “a real friend” of Bangladesh who “braving all obstacles from different quarters, stood beside us when the war was waged at the call of the Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.