Bangladesh was on the boil today as at least 32 people, including three policemen, were killed and scores injured in violence after a top leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami was sentenced to death for “crimes against humanity” during the 1971 liberation war.
The violence followed the verdict of the special Bangladeshi tribunal that handed down death penalty to Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the party, amid a nationwide shutdown called by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
“He (Delwar Hossain Sayedee) will be hanged by neck till he is dead,” pronounced chairman of the three-judge International Crimes Tribunal Justice A T M Fazle Kabir.
The court verdict triggered street violence across the country leaving at least 32 people dead, authorities said. The victims included the cops, activists of Jamaat, Shibir, Juba League and common people.
Of the deceased, six people, including three cops, were killed in Gaibandha, four in Thakurgaon, three in Satkhira, two each in Rangpur, Noakhali, Chittagong, Moulvibazar and Sirajganj while one each in Dinajpur, Natore, Cox’s Bazar and Chapainawabganj.
Five deaths were also reported from other parts of the country. Meanwhile, JI has called a 48-hour nationwide hartal from Sunday protesting death penalty for Sayedee.
Amiruzzaman, Jamaat chief of Chittagong (North) said the party would organise special prayers tomorrow and stage protest rallies on Saturday across the country.
Sayedee is the third JI politician to be convicted by the Tribunal since the trial of war crimes suspects, mostly belonging to the Islamist group, began three years ago.
In the first verdict in January, former Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad was sentenced to death on similar charges.
Another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in February for atrocities during the war.
Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamic party in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, was opposed to the 1971 liberation war when officially 3 million people were killed and 200,000 women were raped.