Dhaka: Bangladesh Wednesday shut down 12 blogs and Facebook pages alleging "malicious publicity" by suspected Islamists amid an intensified nationwide campaign against their leaders accused of crimes during the 1971 war.
"Our Computer Security Incident Response Team (BD- CSIRT) has closed 12 blogs and Facebook pages which are being used to carry out malicious publicity against society, politics, state and religions and abuse the peoples religious sentiment," a spokesman of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Authority (BTRC) told PTI.
Earlier, Bangladesh had shut down a blog site after it was linked to the murder of anti-Islamist blogger Rajib Haider who was hacked to death in the capital, last week.
The official said the move was taken in line with the country`s telecom laws while "it was not led by any political consideration and identical actions will be taken if more such sites are found to be involved in spreading malice or abuse religion".
The development came hours after Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said some elements had tried to portray as "anti-Islamic rally" the ongoing youngsters` campaign based in the capital`s Shahbagh Square.
Hundreds of youngsters joined by 1971 Liberation War veterans and cross section of people continued to stage the sit-in demanding capital punishment of the "war criminals" , most of them from Jamaat, which was opposed to Bangladesh`s independence.
"The war crimes trial in no way is an anti-Islamic activity, rather a bold step to establish justice. Crimes against humanity like mass-killings, rapes, arson and torture do not deserve mercy in the eyes of Islam either," Inu told a press conference.
He said war criminals who are being tried are "professional political leaders and activists, not Islamic scholars or clerics, religious teachers or preachers".
Inu also issued a stern warning against exploitation of people`s religious sentiments for vested interests saying the government never indulged in any campaign that could hurt followers of any faith in the past nor it will do in the future.
The Shahbagh protestors earlier issued a statement urging people to be cautious about any attempt portraying them as anti-Islamic saying "we request you to keep your eyes and ears open and do not get misled by any campaign (against us) in the name of religion".
"We also urge the Islamic leaders and scholars not to be instigated or provoked by Satan`s (devil`s) campaign," it read.