Strike over war crimes trials hits Bangladesh, 3 killed

Bangladesh Violence

Bangladesh was on the boil today as activists of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami clashed with the police, leaving three people, including a constable, dead and several others injured, during a nationwide strike called to protest the 1971 war crimes trials.

The nationwide general strike was enforced by the Jamaat-e-Islami and backed by main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to halt an ongoing trial of their top leaders for 1971 war crimes charges.

Two people were killed in northwestern Bogra in clashes between pro-government and Jamaat-e-Islami activists. The riot police used rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters in several troubled areas.

"One of the two (killed) is reported to be a Jamaat activist but there are confusions about the political identity of the other...but both succumbed to their wounds as they were being treated in a hospital after clashes at different parts of the Bogra town," a witness told PTI.

The third victim killed in the unrest was a policeman who died earlier in the morning at western Jessore district with the police saying that he died of a massive heart attack during clashes with the Jamaat-e-Islami activists.

Deputy commissioner or administrative chief of Bogra Sarwar Hossain said paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) was kept at standby to be called out anytime.

Witnesses said Jamaat-e-Islami activists clashed with riot police at Satmatha area of Bogra town, leaving over a dozen people injured at the fag end of the strike hours.

Witnesses said vandalism, explosion of homemade bombs and torching of vehicles marked the general strike in the capital Dhaka and southeastern port city of Chittagong where police arrested over a dozen Jamaat-e-Islami activists.

Jamaat-e-Islami had called a half-day shutdown in the capital Dhaka and southeastern port city of Chittagong and day-long strike elsewhere in Bangladesh demanding release of their top leaders including incumbent party chief Matiur Rahman Nizami being tried for "crimes against humanity" during the India-backed 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan.

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