Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party enforces strike protesting leader’s death sentence

November 20, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Sheuli Akter

Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party on Thursday enforced a nationwide dawn-to-dusk strike, protesting what it referred to as the government hatched conspiracy to annihilate the party by killing its leaders in the name of war crimes trials.

The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party on Wednesday called the strike hours after a four-member Appellate Division bench of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, on Wednesday dismissed the final review petitions of Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, secretary general of Jamaat, and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), paving the way for the execution of the key opposition leaders.

The verdict came amid growing demand for outlawing Jamaat, blamed for war crimes during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.

On account of the hartal in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the South Asian country, security measures have been tightened.

Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) forces were deployed in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country on Wednesday night.

Due to the strike, traffic on the Dhaka streets remained relatively thin. The number of passenger journeys had also fallen for long route bus operators although no activities of pro-strike activists were visible throughout the day.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina‘s ruling Bangladeshi Awami League party and its associate bodies staged a demonstration denouncing the strike in Dhaka and cities and towns, no major incidents from which have so far been reported.

Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established war crimes tribunals in March 2010, almost 40 years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan.

Apart from Mojaheed and Chowdhury, a number of Jamaat high-ups are also now facing trial.

Jamaat and the BNP have already dismissed the tribunals as a government “show trial” without the oversight or involvement of the United Nations.

In April this year, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, also a leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, was executed  for crimes against humanity committed during the country ‘s war of independence in 1971.

Another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla, also convicted of war crimes, was executed on Dec. 12, 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

sheuly akter_1688

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

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