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Violence continues in Bangladesh, six more people killed

Last Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 11:38

Dhaka: Bangladesh on Sunday deployed troops in the country`s north as six more people were killed in fresh rioting over death sentence given to a top leader of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami for "crimes against humanity" during the 1971 liberation war, taking the death toll to 56.

Violence broke out on Thursday after 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), was sentenced to death by International Crimes Tribunal.

Jamaat activists overnight torched a train and attacked several police installations in northwestern Bangladesh as they enforced a nationwide 48-hour stoppage to halt ongoing trial of their leaders.

Authorities stepped up security ahead of the strike which began as Indian President Pranab Mukherjee embarked on his maiden foreign tour to Dhaka since taking over the highest constitutional post seven months ago.

Six people killed overnight, raising the death toll to 56. They were killed as police used gunshots early this morning when JI activists attacked a police station near an army cantonment at Shahjahanpur of northwestern Bogra.

At least 40 people were also injured in the clashes.

A local journalist quoting officials said Army troops were called out from nearby Bogra cantonment to tame the protesters who also attacked two other police outposts and set ablaze a local office of Muktijoddha Sangsad of 1971 freedom fighters.

The activists last night set on fire a passenger train stationed at north-western Rajshahi but no casualty was reported.

Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) extended its support to its crucial extreme rightwing ally, which was opposed to the countries 1971 independence siding with the then Pakistani junta, questioning the "neutrality" of the war crimes trial.

BNP, however, did not extend its moral support for the 48-hour JI shutdown unlike previous such occasions.

But, the BNP called a day-long hartal on Tuesday to protest the police actions to stop campaigns against war crimes trial.

Jamaat-e-Islami has accused the police of firing without provocation.

The Bangladeshi government rejected the criticism, saying violence against civilians and police officers would not be tolerated.

"Police did never attack any unarmed person. In every incident Jamaat hoodlums were the attackers. They launched attacks on police ...Torched mosques, houses of the Hindu community and their temples," Information minister Hassanul Haque Inu told a press conference.

Reports said suspected extreme rightwing activists also set ablaze a Hindu temple and attacked two local leaders of ruling Awami League who were followers of Hindu faith at southwestern Bagerhat and ransacked another temple at suburban Gazipur district yesterday.


First Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 11:38
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