World Bulletin / News Desk
A countrywide dawn-to-dusk general strike in Bangladesh, called by an Islamist group, began Monday morning, authorities said.
The strike was called to protest the deaths of three people in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting the life sentence given by a Bangladeshi tribunal to Abdul Kader Mullah, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami group, for his alleged role in crimes during the country's 1971 independence war.
Security remained tight in the capital as supporters of the pro-govt Shahbagh movement urged the public to ignore the strike and go about their daily routine.
Thousands of Shahbagh supporters have been holding demonstrations ever since the sentencing of Mullah, demanding his execution as well as a ban the pro-Jamaat blog and the immediate arrests of those responsible for last week's killing of Ahmed Rajib Haidar, a key movement supporter.
As the Shahbagh demonstrations continued, Bangladesh's parliament amended a law to allow the state to appeal the tribunal's life sentence of Mullah.
Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British occupation in 1947 but it broke away from Pakistan in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces. Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan.
The Jamaat claims the latest efforts are part of a political vendetta by the government.
Mullah and seven others accused are Jamaat party leaders, while the other two are members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, a rival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling party.
The tribunal does not conform with international standards, human rights groups have said.
Mulah's sentencing was the second by the tribunal. On Jan. 21 Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad was sentenced, in absentia, to death.Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2013, 11:40