Ahead of 1971 war crimes judgement, JI calls nationwide strike
Dhaka: Fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami on Monday called for a nation-wide strike in Bangladesh tomorrow when a special tribunal court is set to sentence its top leader in the 1971 war crimes trial for "crimes against humanity".
"Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is calling a countrywide dawn to dusk hartal on Tuesday to protest the plot to hand down punishment to Abdul Kader Mollah... In line with a government blueprint for political vengeance in the name of trial of crimes against humanity," the party said in a statement.
If the tomorrow's verdict by the "controversial tribunal" against 65-year-old Mollah, an assistant secretary general of JI, reflected the "government blueprint", the general strike would be extended for indefinite period, the right-wing party, a crucial ally of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led opposition alliance, warned.
The JI, which opposed the 1971 war crimes trials, issued the statement hours after Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal-2 announced it was set to pronounce the verdict against Mollah tomorrow on completion of his trial for the crimes against humanity siding with Pakistani troops in 1971.
Mollah was indicted on May 28, 2012 when the tribunal framed six specific charges against him for actively participating, facilitating, aiding and substantially contributing to the attack directed upon the unarmed civilians, "causing commission of the horrific murders and rapes".
It will be the second verdict of the International Crimes Tribunals after January 14, when the special court handed down death penalty in its maiden verdict against fugitive JI leader Abul Kalam Azad after his trial in absentia.
The call for strike came hours after police, in a surprise move, allowed the extreme right wing party, which opposed Bangladesh 1971 independence, to hold a rally at the heart of the capital after denying permission for months for staging such street protests.
"Police is not an enemy of any political party... They (JI) can hold peaceful rallies," Dhaka's police commissioner Benzir Ahmed earlier told newsmen.