Jamaat enforces strike in Bangladesh, 1 killed
Dhaka: One person was killed and several others injured on Wednesday in sporadic incidents of violence across Bangladesh, as fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami enforced a 48-hour strike to protest the Supreme Court verdict awarding death penalty to one of its stalwarts for 1971 war crimes.
Police and witnesses said a three-wheeler auto-rickshaw driver died at southeastern Noakhali as he was stoned by protesters for defying the hartal call while the Jamaat activists also turned violent at several other areas of the country on the first day of their two-day strike.
"A stone hit him on the head and doctors found him dead as he was rushed to the (nearby) hospital," police said.
TV channels reported incidents of clashes in central Comilla, northwestern Bogra, Natore and Rajshahi and southwestern Satkhira while some 10 policemen were injured in attacks by the protesters who also damaged some 20 vehicles.
In capital Dhaka, the Jamaat activists were reported to have chanted the ruling Awami League slogan - Joy Bangla visibly to deceive police but pulled out the party banner as the police cars crossed them.
"They fled the scene as police returned to the spot sensing their trick," a police official told reporters.
The strike came a day after the Supreme Court handed down death penalty to assistant secretary general of the party Abdul Quader Mollah for 1971 war crimes, revising a special tribunal verdict which had sentenced him to life in February.
Mollah, 65, the fourth-highest Jamaat leader, is the first politician to be found guilty by the Supreme Court after it rejected an appeal to acquit him of all charges.
His lawyers said they would seek to the judgement reviewed again by the apex court as it appeared "unacceptable and surprising" as "there is no instance in the country`s judicial history when the apex court enhanced the trial court sentence".
Soon after the verdict was pronounced yesterday, the Jamaat activists attacked policemen in the southeastern port city of Chittagong,injuring two officers and setting on fire a police car and a private vehicle, and damaged several others.
Jamaat called the 48-hour shutdown terming the verdict a "wrong judgment" and protesting what it said the "state-sponsored plot to kill its leaders".
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