Jamaat-e-Islami stages violent protests in Bangladesh

Sporadic incidents of violence on Sunday gripped the Bangladeshi capital with Jamaat-e-Islami activists torching vehicles, exploding bombs and staging protests.

PTI| Updated: Nov 03, 2013, 16:08 PM IST

Dhaka: Sporadic incidents of violence on Sunday gripped the Bangladeshi capital with Jamaat-e-Islami activists torching vehicles, exploding bombs and staging protests after the High Court here issued the full text of a crucial verdict declaring "illegal" the party`s right to contest elections.

TV channels reported that a passenger bus was set on fire by the Jamaat activists at the city`s commercial hub of Motikheel, while one of the protesters was critically injured after a crude bomb he was carrying exploded.

They said the Jamaat activists staged brief but quick processions at certain parts of the city.

The violence erupted ahead of another 60-hour nationwide strike called by main opposition BNP and Jamaat from tomorrow.

"We have tightened the security vigil in the city to avert any further violence," a police official told reporters.

The opposition is spearheading a campaign to mount pressure on government for installation of a non-party interim government for oversight of elections due in January 2014.

But today`s protests came a day after the court released the full text of its verdict delivered on August 5, declaring illegal Jamaat`s registration with the Election Commission which would disqualify the party to contest future polls.

In its full verdict, the court observed that the EC "unlawfully" offered the temporary registration to the party in 2008 and its charter contained elements contrary to the constitution and the election rules.

The court also ruled that the statutory body`s decision was "astonishing", "unethical" and contrary to its charter.

"It is hereby declared that the registration of Jamaat given to it by the Election Commission on November 4, 2008 was done without lawful authority and is of no effect," read the judgment of a three-member High Court bench comprising judges M Enayetur Rahim, Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and M Moazzam Husain.

Election Commissioner Abu hafiz later told newsmen there was no scope on their part to disobey the court verdict and "will immediately implement the decision".

The EC gave Jamaat temporary registration only days ahead of the ninth parliamentary elections in 2008, as the party pledged to amend its constitution to comply with the basis principles of the constitution.

But the Tariqat Federation, a grouping which campaigns moderate Sufi philosophy of Islam, and 24 other individuals subsequently challenged the EC decision seeking the High Court order to cancel Jamaat`s registration, saying several provisions of its charter were contrary to the county`s constitution and election laws.

Legal experts, however, said the verdict did not made Jamaat "illegal" as a political party. The court observed that the party had no moral right to do politics in Bangladesh for opposing the country`s 1971 independence war and carrying out atrocities siding with the Pakistani troops.

Jamaat`s lawyers had said they would challenge the ruling before the apex Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

Several Jamaat leaders have been handed down death penalties and long jail terms, whereas while trials of many other leaders are still underway at two special tribunals.

Bangladesh Cabinet last month decided to endorse a draft law to bar the convicted perpetrators of 1971 `crimes against humanity` from contesting the national elections.