INTERNATIONAL

Two Bangladesh judges killed in bomb attack

Haroon Habib

DHAKA: Suspected Islamist militants killed two judges and injured three others in a bomb attack in the district headquarters town of Jhalakati, 175 km south of Dhaka, on Monday.

The incident comes a few months after a wave of bombings across Bangladesh, including Jhalakati, and against the backdrop of attacks and threat to the life of judges by Islamist militants who want judges to refrain from implementing "man-made laws" and want "the laws of Allah" to be enforced.

The victims were identified as Sohel Ahmed and Jagannath Pandey, senior assistant judges posted in the district.

Attacker identified

Police and witnesses said a young man threw a bomb into a mini-bus carrying the judges as they were going to the courts on Monday morning. Mr. Ahmed was killed on the spot while Mr. Pandey died on the way to hospital. State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar identified the attacker as a member of Jamaat ul-Mujahideen, a banned Islamist outfit, which claimed to have carried out the August 17 serial bomb blasts all over Bangladesh. The same group was responsible for attacking three judges in three district towns on October 3.

Bangladesh has witnessed a number of bombings in recent times that targeted judges, journalists, cultural personalities and leading Opposition politicians. Judges all over Bangladesh stopped work soon after the news of the killing on Monday. The Supreme Court Bar Association organised a protest meeting in front of the court in Dhaka and criticised the Government for failing to protect judges.

The Supreme Court Bar Association decided to boycott courts nationwide on Thursday to protest the killing of the two judges. Lawyers also boycotted the High Court and Supreme Court in Dhaka on Monday.

Opposition political parties condemned the killings and announced countrywide protests on Tuesday.

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