World Bulletin / News Desk
Bangladesh deployed troops in the north of the country Sunday after 16 more people were killed in a fresh wave of violence over the conviction of Islamist leaders for war crimes in the Muslim-majority nation.
In the northern district of Bogra at least 10,000 protesters attacked five police stations, forcing police to open fire on them, police Inspector Shamsul Haq claimed.
Four people were shot dead in the northwestern town of Godagari after police and border guards opened fire on thousands of protesters from the Jamaat-e-Islami party after they attacked police with sticks and stones, the area police chief said.
Delwar Hossain Sayedee was Thursday found guilty. The sentence triggered violent clashes across the country between Jamaat supporters and police.
Call for nonstop shutdown
The 73-year-old reacher was the third person to be convicted by the war crimes tribunal. The verdicts have sparked outrage among Islamists.
Jamaat, the nation's largest Islamic party, says the process is more about settling scores than delivering justice.
The war crimes trials of a dozen leaders from Jamaat and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have opened old wounds and divided the nation, with the opposition accusing the government of staging a witch-hunt.
The government says the war claimed three million lives. Independent estimates put the death toll from the war in which Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan at 300,000-500,000.
In Dhaka, schools and most businesses remained closed Sunday while traffic on the usually clogged streets was thin during the first day of a two-day nationwide strike called by Jamaat-e-Islami. Thousands of security officials were patrolling the streets, according to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Govt appeals "life sentence"
In another development Sunday, the government filed an appeal with the Supreme Court seeking the death penalty for another Jamaat leader, Abdul Quader Mollah, Attorney General Mahbube Alam said. Last month, Mollah was convicted of mass killings during the 1971 war. He received a life prison sentence, a penalty the prosecution considered too lenient.
Seven other Jamaat leaders, including its chief, Matiur Rahman Nizami, are on trial on war crimes charges.
Jamaat called for a nonstop shutdown across the country for Sunday and Monday to protest the trials.
Jamaat is a partner in Bangladesh's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, and was a partner in Zia's government from 2001 to 2006.
Zia says the war crimes trials are politically motivated to target the opposition, an allegation denied by the government. Zia's party has called for a nationwide general strike for Tuesday.Last Mod: 03 Mart 2013, 12:30