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Paramilitary troops deployed in Bangladesh's capital to thwart untoward incident after hartal violence

English.news.cn   2013-02-06 00:19:10            

by Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Paramilitary troops have been deployed in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka to thwart any untoward incident after fierce clashes between the pro-hartal activists and the law enforcers during Tuesday's countrywide general strike which the country's largest Islamic party enforced demanding the release of its leaders who face charges of war crimes.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) spokesman Mohsin Reza told Xinhua that "paramilitary forces have been deployed at different strategic points of the city tonight."

He declined to give any further details.

A highly placed source said BGB personnel will mainly patrol some important points in the capital city. But the source refrained from citing names of the strategically important points where the BGB personnel have already been deployed.

According to the source, Bangladesh's Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier in the day dispatched an order to the BGB, previously known as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), in this connection.

It said BGB deployment has been done initially in a limited scale but the force have been asked to remain ready to carry out any further order.

The deployment came in the wake of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party's decision to enforce hartal for second consecutive day on Wednesday in protest against a verdict of The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2.

The ICT-2, set up to try those allegedly involved in war crimes during the South Asian country's nine-month liberation war in 1971, pronounced the verdict Tuesday on crimes against humanity case awarding life imprisonment to Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party Abdul Quader Mollah.

Rejecting the verdict, Jamaat called the countrywide dawn-to- dusk hartal for Wednesday after it enforced countrywide dawn-to- dusk hartal Tuesday when hundreds of Jamaat men fought pitched battles with the law enforcers in capital Dhaka and elsewhere in country.

A man has been shot dead while scores injured in fierce clashes between the pro-hartal activists and the law enforcers in Bangladesh's southeastern Chittagong seaport city during Tuesday's countrywide general strike.

Banaj Kumar Majumder, a senior official of Chittagong Metropoliton Police (CMP), told Xinhua that police fired gunshots to disperse pro-hartal activists, "leaving one dead."

Scores of pro-hartal activists equipped with sticks and brick chips launched attack on police and also blasted about a dozen cocktails in Chittatgong, some 247 km southeast of capital Dhaka, during the early hours of the hartal, he said.

Police opened fire in self defence, triggering a gunfight between the law enforcers and the pro-hartal activists for a short while, he added.

"The man was later found shot dead," he said and added that the identity of the deceased could not be known immediately although Jamaat claimed the victim was its activist.

Jamaat, which has long been demonstrating against the government's bid to try war criminals, last week also enforced a daylong hartal demanding the release of its nine top detained high- ups including its spiritual leader Ghulam Azam.

Apart from Jamaat high-ups, a few leaders of ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are also facing trials.

Both BNP and Jamaat, which allegedly collaborated with the Pakistani forces in 1971 to prevent an independent Bangladesh, have already dismissed the court as a government "show trial" and said it is a domestic set-up with no United Nations oversight or involvement.

Jamaat, which recently showed its huge muscle power against the law enforcement agencies, threatened to escalate the armed struggle if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government does not immediately free its leaders who face charges of war crimes.

"There is no scope to give verdict from a controversial tribunal to save the country from the civil war," said senior Jamaat leader Selim Uddin while addressing a mass rally Monday. " Don't push the country towards a civil war by creating discord."

Bangladesh's Minister of State for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku Monday told reporters that the law enforcers will go tough against Jamaat men if they try to create anarchy after the pronouncement of verdict.

At least five people, including a policeman and three Jamaat men, were killed in violence triggered by last Thursday's hartal called by Jamaat.

Jamaat acting Secretary General Rafiqul Islam Khan, in a press release, Tuesday said the tribunal pronounced the verdict as per the instruction of the government.

Mollah, who is now behind the bar, was indicted in May last year with six specific charges for his alleged involvement in murders and mass killings in 1971.

It's the second verdict of the ICT-2 which delivered its maiden verdict against expelled Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad on Jan. 21. The fugitive Azad was sentenced to death.

Editor: yan
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