66 held during violence-marred Jamaat strike
Published: 2013-02-05 15:06:13.0 BdST Updated: 2013-02-05 15:06:13.0 BdST
Activists of the Jamaat-e- Islami and the Islami Chhatra Shibir clashed with police across the country and indulged in vandalism and arson during the Jamaat-enforced countrywide shutdown on Tuesday.
So far, 66 individuals have been taken into custody.
On Monday noon, within hours of the International Crimes Tribunal-2 fixing Tuesday for delivering the verdict on Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant General Secretary Abdul Kader Molla, the Islamist party announced a countrywide dawn-to-dusk shutdown for the day.
Intercity bus service came to a halt due to the shutdown, but trains plied uninterrupted. Rickshaws and auto rickshaws were also visible on roads in various district towns across the country.
Schools and colleges were announced shut for the day, but some businesses and shops started to open after noon. Government and private offices were reported open during the strike.
Gazipur: Pro-shutdown activists set fire to a minibus at Nolzani on the road connecting Gazipur with Dhaka. They also vandalised vehicles and torched motor tyres in several areas to obstruct normal flow of traffic.
OC SM Kamruzzaman of Joydebpur Police Station said Jamaat activists vandalised and set fire to the minibus in a surprise attack at around 8:00am.
Police and locals later doused the fire.
The pro-strike activists also tried to torch tyres on Bhogra Bypass on Dhaka–Mymensingh highway, but police dispersed them, Sub-Inspector Suzayet Hossain of Bhogra Police Oupost said.
Six activists were held from Gazipur Sadar upazila starting Monday night until Tuesday noon, police said. Two Jamaat and Shibir activists were held from Tongi-Kaliakoir.
Savar: A bus belonging to ‘Bhai-Bon Paribahan’ was burnt after pro-shutdown activists set fire to it at around 10:00am in front of Gonoshasto on Dhaka-Tangail Highway, Ashulia Station OC Sheikh Bodrul Alam said.
He told bdnews24.com that pickets also vandalised five to six vehicles around 6:00am as they took out a procession in front of Ashulia’s Unique Bus-stand. The attackers fled after being chased by policemen. The Jamaat-Shibir activists brought out similar processions at different points in Savar.
Faridpur: The Jamaat-Shibir activists took out processions in the native village of Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Mollah in Sadarpur upazila.
SI Mamun of Sadarpur Police Station told bdnews24.com cops obstructed a pro-shutdown procession after it emerged in the bust-stand area at around 11:00am. The activists retaliated to the obstruction by clashing with the law-keepers. They were eventually dispersed as the police wielded batons and fired a round of blank shot.
Three activists were picked up from the site.
Bogra:The pro-shutdown activists threw crude bombs at police in ‘Saabgram’ area of the district, and the cops retaliated by firing five blank shots.
Five Shibir activists were arrested during the incident, Assistant Superintendant of Police (Circle A) Mokbul Hossain said.
Two Jamaat-Shibir activists had died in this area while clashing with police during the last week’s Jamaat-e-Islami-enforced countrywide shutdown on Thursday.
Police also chased away some Shibir activists when they attempted to set up blockades in the town’s Jamilnagar area at around 10:00am by setting tyres ablaze. The activists hurled five to six hand bombs at police during the occurrence.
Police dispersed the activists by firing around 15 blank rounds from their shotguns.
Brahmanbaria: Two Jamaat activists were nabbed on Tuesday morning following back-to-back clashes between lawmen and Jamaat-Shibir activists from Bhadughor area on Comilla-Sylhet Highway.
Nine Jamaat activists were also held from various parts of the district, Police Superintendant Mohammad Moniruzzaman said.
In another incident, a group of Jamaat-Shibir activists also set fire to car tyres in front of Datiara Television Station on Comilla-Sylhet highway at around 9:00am.
Leaders of the district and activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League took out an anti-shutdown procession at around 10:30am.
Chandpur: Pro-shutdown activists set fire to burnt tyres and dumped tree trunks at several points on the Chaadpur-Comilla Highway to obstruct traffic flow.
18 leaders and Jamaat-Shibir activists were arrested from various parts of the district during the shutdown, SP Mohammad Amir Zafar said.
“So far no big unexpected incident has taken place in the district,” he said.
Chuadanga: SI Tipu Sultan of the district’s Alamdanga Police Station said a procession by Jamaat-Shibir activists approached police personnel in the area at around 9:00am chanting ‘Joi Bangla’ slogans. When they came close to the cops, they took on the law enforcers screaming ‘Naraye Takbir’.
That led to a brawl between police and the activists. At one point, the activists threw some brickbats at police personnel and fled, SI Sultan said.
Jhinaidaha: Police arrested five Jamaat-Shibir activists on Monday in separate raids, OC Anwar Hossain of Maheshpur Police Station and Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury for Sadar Police said.
Noakhali: There were back-to-back clashes between Shibir and Chhtara League activists in front of Bashurhat Model School at Companiganj. Fire fighters doused a fire that was set to a student’s dormitory in front of the school, Companiganj Police OC Sajedur Rahman said.
18 activists of Jamaat and Shibir were held in raids conducted in various parts of the district during Monday night, SP Harunur Rashid Hazari informed.
The second international crimes tribunal on Jan 21 sentenced Jamaat’s Abul Kalam Azad, aka Bachchu Razakar to death over charges of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of 1971, including murder, rape and loot.
Party’s former chief Ghulam Azam, incumbent chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and five others are facing war crimes trial. Two BNP leaders are also standing the war crimes trial.
The Jamaat-Shibir activists have been attacking policemen and engaging in vandalism and violence throughout Bangladesh ever since they started anticipating harsh punishment for their leaders facing the trial.
The Islamist party has been demanding that the war crimes tribunals be repealed and their leaders released immediately.
On the other hand, some Left parties have demanded ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami and its affiliates – a demand that enjoys support from many in the ruling Awami League.
The BNP initially did not oppose the trial, but recently backed the Jan 31 strike called by the Jamaat, saying the war crimes tribunal was not conducting the trial in a fair and transparent manner.
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