DHAKA, Bangladesh - Police have charged 44 opposition activists, including several senior leaders, with alleged involvement in bombings and vandalism during an opposition-sponsored general strike that has disrupted life across Bangladesh for a second day.
The strike was called to protest the disappearance of an opposition official, Elias Ali, which his party blames on the government and security agencies.
The government denies involvement, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused the opposition of hiding Ali to create anarchy in the South Asian country.
Junior Home Minister Shamsul Haque Tuku said on Monday the opposition must take responsibility for the violence and explosions in the capital, Dhaka, the previous day.
At least a dozen homemade bombs exploded in parts of the city, including two that were thrown at cars belonging to the home affairs minister and the deputy interior minister. Protesters smashed about a dozen vehicles whose drivers were trying to defy the shutdown.
Police filed cases on Sunday against 44 opposition activists for alleged involvement in the violence, Dhaka Metropolitan Police official Imam Hossain said.
Those arrested included Rizvi Ahmed, a leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and Qamruzzaman Ratan, an opposition leader and friend of Ali.
Police also searched the house of Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, a close aide of Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia and acting secretary-general of the party. However, Alamgir was not at home at the time, his wife said.
Separately, security officials also arrested a former deputy minister and two other opposition members who were demonstrating in front of the party headquarters.
Police cordoned off the party headquarters and broke up a number of protest marches in the capital.
Zia's party leads an 18-party opposition alliance that is demanding the return of Ali, who has been missing for nearly two weeks.