DHAKA, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- An Islamist party leader was killed as security forces and protesters fought street battles in a western Bangladesh District on Thursday, the second day of a nationwide general strike, with dozens including policemen injured.
"Delwar Hossain, president of a ward unit of Bangladesh Jamaat- e-Islami Party, was found dead following clashes between the pro- hartal activists and the law enforcers," said AKM Nahidul Islam, police chief in Meherpur, some 240 km west of capital Dhaka.
The official could not tell immediately whether the Jamaat leader suffered bullet injuries.
He said at least five policemen were injured in the clashes which erupted at about 7:00 p.m local time.
Hundreds of Jamaat men built barricades at a road intersection in Mujibnagar sub-district of Meherpu, he added.
At one stage, police chased the pro-hartal activists when they fought running battles with the law enforcers, Islam said, adding that Jamaat men hurled crude bombs and brickbats at the law enforcers while fleeing.
He said police opened fire with live ammunition rounds to protect themselves from about several hundred protesters armed with lethal weapons.
Talking to leading local media, Jamaat's Meherpur spokesman Sirajul Islam claimed that the party's another activist succumbed to injuries on way to hospital.
He also claimed that over a dozen Jamaat men sustained bullet injuries during the clashes.
Stray incidents of clash, arson, vandalism, chase and counter- chase, detention have also been reported in capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country in the early hours of Thursday's hartal.
Rubber bullets and live ammunition were reportedly fired in places to disperse stone-throwing protesters during the first day' s strike.
Hours after the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court awarded the capital punishment to Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Party Abdul Quader Mollah, it called a 48-hour nationwide hartal for Sept. 18 and 19, protesting what it referred to as "the government hatching conspiracy to kill its leaders and running anti-Islamic activities, state-sponsored repression."
Six current and former leaders, including Mollah of Bangladesh Jamaat, have already been sentenced to either death or life imprisonment for crimes against humanity linked to the country's war of independence.
Apart from several other Jamaat senior officials, two leaders of Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are also standing trial on charges of crimes against humanity.