Opposition activists in Bangladesh trying to enforce a transport boycott threw homemade bombs at a bus early on Tuesday, setting off a fire that engulfed the vehicle and killed 7 people, a fire department officer said.
Fire department official Monir Hossain told reporters in the southeastern district of Comilla that 16 people were injured, several of them critically
Dead bodies in body bags were put next to the charred bus, while the injured were transferred to hospital in the capital city, Dhaka.
The opposition rejected a general election just over a year ago and stepped up its protests last month in a bid to force Prime Minister Sheik Hasina to step down and hold fresh polls.
Supporters of the ruling Awami League Party marched on the streets of Dhaka and protested against the incident.
“You have seen that the opposition activists have thrown petrol bombs at a bus last night in Comilla which was coming from Cox's Bazar that killed seven people and injured many. We condemn this act of opposition,” said Shah Alam Murad, one of the leader of the Awami League Party.
Spokesmen for the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) were not available for comment. They routinely reject accusations that their activists are responsible for violence.
Bangladeshi politics has been mired for years in bitter rivalry between Hasina and BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia.
Both women are related to former national leaders and they have alternated as prime minister for most of the past two decades.
Analysts say the renewed political turmoil could threaten the country's $24-billion garment export industry, already under pressure after a string of fatal accidents.
At least 51 people have been killed in political violence over the past month including the seven on the night-bus to Dhaka.