Press Trust of India
Dhaka, 18 September
At least one person was killed and several others, including policemen, were injured in violent protests across Bangladesh today amid a 48-hour general strike by fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami after one of its senior leaders was sentenced to death for 1971 war crimes.
An auto-rickshaw driver died at southeastern Noakhali district when protesters threw stones at him for defying the hartal call. “A stone hit him on the head and doctors pronounced him dead,” a police officer told reporters.
Jamaat activists also turned violent at several other areas of the country on the first day of their 48-hour general strike. The strike prompted most private cars to stay off the road.
The capital city, Dhaka, remained largely unaffected by the strike despite few incidents of cracker blasts by the protesters who were immediately chased by the police.
The TV channels reported incidents of clashes in central Comilla, northwestern Bogra, Natore and Rajshahi and southwestern Barisal and Satkhira. Some 10 policemen were injured in attacks by demonstrators, who also damaged 20 vehicles.
The Jamaat 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 imprisonment earlier.
Mollah, 65, was convicted on charges of actively participating, facilitating, aiding and substantially contributing to the attacks on unarmed civilians, “causing commission of the horrific genocides, murders and rapes”.
Mollah’s lawyers said they have decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the verdict. “After getting full text of the verdict we will submit a review petition (before the apex court itself) and also pray for staying the execution process until the review petition is settled,” defence counsel Tajul Islam said.