B`desh Jamaat plan street protests amid fears of `war crimes`

Last Updated: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 22:14

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s largest Islamist party
Jamaat on Saturday vowed to take to the streets amid fears that its
top leaders, who are in jail for defying court orders, may be
incarcerated for a long time in the 1971 `war crime` cases.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Motiur Rahman Nizami,
secretary general Ali Ahsan Mujahid and another senior leader
Delwar Hossain Sayeedi were held earlier this week after a
court issued arrest warrants against them as they failed to
appear before it to answer charges that they had hurt
sentiments of Muslims.

The radical leaders are being quizzed after being
remanded to custody on Wednesday on a series of charges,
including sedition and murder.

JI, a key partner of main Opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP), will stage a two-day protest
demonstrations in the capital and across the country from
tomorrow against the arrests of its top leaders.

ATM Azharul Islam, acting Secretary General, announced
the protest programmes at a media briefing on Saturday.

It has also decided to form human chain across the
country on July 7 and silent protest on July 9 and 10, the
Star online said quoting a local media.

Police on Thursday showed JI leaders arrested on a
slew of new cases, including in connection with "war crimes"
committed during the country`s 1971 `Liberation War`.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who has vowed to bring
to justice the war criminals, today accused the main
opposition party of lending support to them as BNP supremo and
former prime minister Khaleda Zia extended cautious support to
Jaamat leaders.

"They have become restless just as the government is
moving to prosecute the war criminals," Hasina was quoted as
saying by the bdnews24 online on Saturday.

Nizami and Mojahid led the so-called Al-Badr forces,
which is widely believed to have been involved in genocide,
rape and murder of frontline intellectuals in an effort to
cripple the emerging nation.

The ruling Awami League government has earlier hinted
that it will soon expose several high-profile Jamaat leaders
linked to the the atrocities on the people.

On March 25, the government set up a three-member
special tribunal for the trial of "war criminals" accused of
genocide and those who sided with the Pakistani military
during the `Liberation War`.

According to official figures, Pakistani troops, aided
by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people,
raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to leave
their homes during the bloody nine-month guerrilla war.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 22:14

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