A potential disaster was averted on Tuesday in Bangladesh as the quick actions of a train driver prevented a major accident. The train, carrying 300 passengers, came to a halt just 200 yards before a bridge in the northern Netrokona district. Suspected saboteurs had removed hooks connecting railway tracks to sleepers on the bridge, posing a significant risk.

Railway authorities reported that 28 dog spikes on 14 sleepers were deliberately removed, and they suspect a connection to a series of train sabotages leading up to the January 7 general elections, which are being boycotted by the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

“The train, with 300 passengers on board, narrowly avoided disaster as the skilled locomotive master managed to bring it to a stop just 200 yards away from the compromised bridge,” stated a railway official at the scene in the Purbadhala area of northern Netrokona district.

Officials reported that para-police personnel discovered the removal of hooks securing railway tracks to sleepers on the rail bridge. The message about this potentially disastrous situation was promptly conveyed to the train’s locomotive master through the coordination of managers from two nearby train stations.

Describing the incident as a serious attempt at significant sabotage, Khabirul Ahsan, the administrative chief of Purbodhala sub-district, stated that measures were in progress to initiate an investigation to identify and apprehend the responsible parties.

The recent incident follows a disturbing pattern of sabotage, with a train set ablaze on December 19, resulting in four casualties, including a mother and child. This act occurred during a countrywide strike organized by the opposition, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government ahead of the upcoming general elections.

Earlier in December, saboteurs caused a derailment in Gazipur on the outskirts of the capital, leading to the death of one passenger and injuries to dozens more as they uprooted railway tracks.

In response to these threats, Bangladesh has deployed armed forces to maintain heightened surveillance on railway tracks nationwide.

As per Human Rights Watch, over the past three months, political violence has claimed the lives of at least 16 individuals, among them two police officers, and left thousands more injured. During this period, numerous vehicles, including buses and trucks, were deliberately set ablaze, contributing to the escalating unrest.

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