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4 dead, hundreds injured as riots continue in Bangladesh

English.news.cn   2013-03-02 23:39:49            

by Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, March 2 (Xinhua) -- At least four people were shot dead and hundreds of others including cops injured in Bangladesh on Saturday, as riots continued for the third consecutive day after an Islamist opposition leader was sentenced to death for war crimes.

Three people were killed in Chittagong district, some 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka, where dozens of shots were fired by law enforcers. In retaliation, activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e- Islami party also reportedly fired back at the law enforcers.

Another death was reported from Nilphamari, some 360 km northwest of Dhaka, where a youth died after police and paramilitary troop opened fire to disperse the Islamic party's protesters who have been staging demonstrations since Thursday.

Scores of people including law enforcers were injured in the clashes in Nilphamari and Chittagong on Saturday.

Clashes have also been reported in parts of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets against opposition activists in the capital city.

Over 100 leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its key ally Jamaat were injured in the incidents of clashes on many major Dhaka streets which turned into battle grounds for several hours on Saturday evening.

Police say roughly a dozen vehicles were smashed or set on fire.

Opposition BNP led by ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Friday declared a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal for Tuesday and countrywide rallies for Saturday to protest what it said government's corruption, misrule, oppression and "mass killings" on Thursday.

The violence erupted soon after the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 pronounced the verdict on Thursday afternoon on a crime against humanity case, giving death sentence to the vice president of Jamaat, Delawar Hossain Sayedee, who is believed to be the second most important leader of the party.

Rejecting the verdict against Sayedee, Jamaat on Thursday called a nonstop 48-hour countrywide hartal for Sunday and Monday.

In the last two days, at least 50 people, including cops, have reportedly been killed, while Jamaat claimed that the death toll rose to 75 on Saturday.

Government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government, which is determined to try the war criminals, said BNP and its ally were trying to create anarchy in the country to save those who committed crimes against humanity during the country's nine-month independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

But Jamaat said Hasina's ruling Bangladesh Awami League Party has targeted the party in its attempt to split Khaleda Zia-led 18- party main opposition alliance which has been demanding parliament polls, slated for 2014, under a neutral government.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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