One person was killed and 10 others injured on Wednesday in continuing violence in the Bangladeshi capital as the 48-hour nationwide general strike called by Jamaat-e-Islami party against a court verdict banning it from contesting elections entered its second day.
Police and witnesses said an activist of Jamaat’s student wing was killed and several others including a television journalist were injured as the violence erupted at the Jatrabari area at the gateway to the capital.
“We found a youth lying on the street as the Shibir (Jamaat’s student front) activists fled the scene. We took him to the Mitford Hospital where the doctors said he was already dead,” a senior police official told newsmen after the clash.
Doctors at the hospital said the youth might have died due to injury on the head as the body bore marks from rubber bullets.
Jamaat, which was opposed to Bangladesh’s independence during the 1971 liberation war, called the shutdown to protest what it called a government plot to eliminate the party alluding to death sentences handed down to several of its leaders for war crimes.
Television channels also reported sporadic incidents of clashes in other areas of the country which were considered stronghold of Jamaat, said to be Bangladesh’s biggest organised Islamic party.
At least 20 people including 10 policemen were injured in western Meherpur as Jamaat activists clashed with police in one such incident on Tuesday.
Media reports said, some 15 vehicles, 16 houses and four shops were torched; 48 crude bomb blasts, and 70 people injured across the country on Tuesday when police detained over 60 Jamaat men.
Police in riot gear patrolled Dhaka streets as the shutdown forced vehicles off the road and schools and markets were closed.
The 48-hour stoppage came as the trial of the accused Jamaat leaders neared the final stage at the country’s International Crimes Tribunal.
On August 1, the Bangladesh High Court had banned Jamaat from contesting future polls, leaving the once-powerful fundamentalist party with an uncertain future.
The court also cancelled its registration with the poll panel in response to a petition challenging the legality of Jamaat’s registration as a political party.
The verdict came at a time of mounting demands for outlawing the party blamed for war crimes during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.
Several top Jamaat leaders, including its 91-year-old supremo Ghulam Azam, were recently sentenced either to death or long jail terms for committing atrocities like genocide and mass murder during the war.
The trials were welcomed by tens of thousands of students and anti-war protesters who wanted justice for the war crimes.
But the verdicts against Jamaat leaders also plunged the country into political violence with some 150 killed in clashes between activists of the right wing party and security forces since the first sentence was awarded in January this year.