Boy dies in police firing, Bangladesh opposition extends blockade

Posted By: PTI
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Bangladesh: Boy dies in police firing
Dhaka, Dec 9: A 12-year-old boy died and 10 other people were injured in police firing in Bangladesh even as the BNP-led opposition alliance extended a nationwide blockade over a "death warrant" issued for senior fundamentalist leader for genocide during the 1971 war.

The boy was killed when police opened fire to disperse activists of the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami, who torched a truck, critically injuring the driver and his helper, in northwestern Satkhira.

The Jamaat separately called a shutdown to be observed along with the ongoing blockade enforced by the 18-party opposition alliance led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to press its demands for rescheduling the January 5 polls, installing a non-party interim government and releasing its leaders.

The fresh violence came in the backdrop of a wave of protests by the opposition alliance, calling on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign before the polls. At least 67 people have died in political violence since October.

BNP spokesman Salauhuddin Ahmed today said that the 72-hour opposition blockade, which began on Saturday, has now been extended to Friday. A special tribunal yesterday ordered the execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, sentenced to death three months ago for genocide during the 1971 liberation war.

Mollah, the fourth senior-most Jamaat leader, is the first politician to be found guilty by the apex court. He was arrested on July 13, 2010 and the tribunal indicted him in May 2012 on six specific charges for actively participating, facilitating, aiding and substantially contributing to attacks on unarmed civilians and "causing commission of the horrific genocides, murders and rapes".

Prosecutors described him as the "Butcher of Mirpur", a Dhaka suburb where he committed most of the atrocities. This is the first such case which came to the apex court for review.

Two war crimes tribunals are trying several high profile accused of "crimes against humanity" during the 1971 war, mostly members of the Jamaat, which was opposed to the country's independence. Over 150 people have died in clashes between Jamaat activists and security forces since the first sentence was announced in January.

Top UN diplomat Oscar Fernandez-Taranco is in Dhaka, trying to resolve the political deadlock and has met Hasina, her arch-rival and BNP chief Khaleda Zia, Chief Election Commissioner and the Indian envoy.


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