Bangladesh PM hints at backing ban on Islamic party
Dhaka: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina indicated on Saturday that she would back a ban on the country's largest Islamic party, as tens of thousands of people joined the funeral of an anti-Islamist blogger and demanded death penalty for 1971 war criminals.
Protesters chanted slogans promising to avenge architect Rajib Haidar's assassination as his national flag draped coffin reached Shahbagh in the afternoon for the Namaaz-e-Janaza.
Haidar, 30, an architect and Shahbagh protest activist, was stabbed to death near his house at Pallabi in the capital last night.
Prime Minister Hasina visited Haidar's residence today to meet with bereaved family members where she said "they (killers) will not be spared".
Describing Rajib as the first 'martyr' of the Shahbagh uprising, she was quoted by BD News as saying, "I was apprehensive that something like this might happen, and it actually happened".
Taking a dig at the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), she said, "Many claim that they are a democratic political party, a democratic force. Now it is proved that they believe in terrorism not democracy".
"We will do to them what is necessary. They have absolutely no right to be in politics in free Bangladesh," she said.
Leaders of the ruling party have also spoken in support of this demand.
The Prime Minister expressed her condolences for the grieving family of the slain blogger.
"We have launched a massive manhunt for killers of Rajib Haidar... The detective branch and the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) separately took fingerprints to track down the assailants," a police spokesman said.
The protesters at Shahbagh accused JI of killing Haidar with lethal weapons last evening while he was returning home.
"Five suspected assailants were arrested while we mobilised our resources to apprehend the killers who fled the scene after the murder," a police spokesman told reporters.