Bangladesh: Four die after train catches fire in Dhaka, police suspect arson ahead of national polls

At least four people died after an intercity train caught fire in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Friday (January 5, 2024).

Four die after train catches fire in Bangladesh. Photo Courtesy: X page video grab  

Police suspect it was a planned attack.

The Benapole Express was travelling from Jessore, the western city located close to India, to Dhaka.

According to reports, Benapole Express caught fire at 9.05 pm in Gopibagh area of the city.

The identities of the deceased persons are not known so far.

Seven firefighting units brought the blaze under control at 10:20pm, Rakibul Hasan, duty officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence told Dhaka Tribune.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Additional Commissioner (Crime and Operations) Mahid Uddin said the attack on the train was planned.

“We cannot say for sure who carried out the arson attack but it is sabotage for sure,” he was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune while talking to the journalists in the capital’s Gopibagh at around 11:30pm.

“Such behaviour towards common people, children and women are inhumane,” he said.

He feared people who committed the crime might have disguised themselves as passengers.

According to reports, five compartments of the train were gutted.

The incident happened just a day before Bangladesh votes in the national polls.

Seven-member probe body formed

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Railways, meanwhile, formed a seven-member committee to probe the fire.

The committee has been ordered to submit its report within three working days, Siraj-ud-Daula Khan, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Railways, told Somoy TV.

Bangladesh polls

Bangladesh will vote in the national elections on Sunday.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and several other political parties have boycotted it.

The BNP launched a violent street campaign marred by arson attacks and vandalism to oust the government, Somoy TV reported.

The political outfit even called for a 48-hour general strike from Saturday (Jan 6) morning to Monday (Jan 8) to discourage voters from voting.