AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Wednesday 5 December 2012
Last update 5 December 2012 2:52 am
DHAKA: Protesters from Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party clashed with security forces in cities across the country yesterday in violence that has left one dead, police said.
Jamaat-e-Islami called a strike yesterday to protest against the arrest and trial of its leaders, who face charges of war crimes during the country’s 1971 liberation struggle.
An 18-year-old youth was shot dead on Monday night during clashes in the northern town of Chirirbandar, 300 km from the capital Dhaka, and unrest spread to other cities yesterday.
Jamaat supporters torched and damaged about 20 vehicles in Dhaka yesterday and 69 people were detained on charges of violence.
Violence was also reported in the eastern town of Brahmanbaria and in the cities of Sylhet, Rajshahi and Narayanganj.
The dead 18-year-old was admitted to hospital on Monday with a gun shot wound to the head after a demonstration at which police admitted firing live ammunition to control the crowd, hospital and police sources said.
“We fired seven rounds of live bullets, rubber bullets and tear gas shells,” local police chief Tariqul Islam said, saying that the cause of the activist’s death was unclear.
Shihidul Islam, a nurse at Rangpur Medical College Hospital, said the activist died as he was brought to the clinic. “He has a bullet shot in his head,” he said.
The government blames Jamaat for much of the killing in the bloody nine-month war against Pakistan, in which it says about three million people died.
But the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), created in 2010 to try war crimes suspects, has been widely criticized as being a political tool for the ruling Awami League government to target its opponents.