New clashes erupt in Bangladesh after 82 killed

The Jamaat-e-Islami called on supporters to converge on the country's mosques on Friday to offer a special mass prayer for those killed during the violence.

New clashes erupt in Bangladesh after 82 killed

World Bulletin / News Desk

Fresh clashes erupted Friday in Bangladesh, bringing the number of people killed to 82 in violence triggered by convictions for Islamist leaders over war crimes committed during the 1971 independence war.

Hundreds of pro-government supporters and followers of the rival Jamaat-e-Islami party clashed with sticks at a market in the northern district of Gaibandha.

Security has been tightened around thousands of mosques across the Muslim-majority nation ahead of weekly prayers on Friday, with border guards deployed in major cities.

Delwar Hossain Sayedee was the third person to be convicted by the court whose previous verdicts have been met with outrage from Islamists who say the process is more about settling scores than delivering justice.

Jamaat, which rejected the verdict as politically motivated, has said 50 of its "innocent" supporters were on Thursday shot dead by police who "hunted them like birds".

The Jamaat-e-Islami called on supporters to converge on the country's mosques on Friday to offer a special mass prayer for those killed during the violence.

About 10,000 policemen were on patrol and the government deployed border guards as reinforcement to prevent more violence.

Earlier this month, the tribunal sentenced Abdul Qader Molla, Jamaat's assistant secretary-general, to life imprisonment.

Molla's verdict enraged secular protesters, tens of thousands of whom have since poured onto Dhaka's Shahbag Square to reject the "lighter sentence" and demand the execution of Jamaat leaders.

Another Jamaat leader, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was sentenced to death in absentia last month.

Seven other top leaders of Jamaat are on trial for their alleged role in the atrocities during the liberation war.

Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the Bangladesh prime minister, set up the tribunal in 2010 to investigate abuses during the independence war which, by many accounts, claimed about three million lives and during which thousands of Bengali women were raped.

Last Mod: 01 Mart 2013, 11:48
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