Jamaat calls shutdown for today

The Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a countrywide dawn-to-dusk shutdown for Thursday demanding an end to the war crimes trial and release of their top leaders.

The announcement came as authorities denied them permission to hold countrywide agitation rallies on Wednesday.

In a media statement, the Islamist party said it called for the general strike to protest the government’s move against the rallies.

Several top Jamaat leaders are currently standing trial at the two International Crimes Tribunals on war crimes charges for allegedly committing crimes against humanity during the nation’s War of Independence in 1971.

In a landmark verdict, the second tribunal of Bangladesh handed down death sentence to former Jamaat activist Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar for committing crimes against humanity during the war.

The government set up the first tribunal of Bangladesh in 2010 to try suspected war criminals, one of the key election pledges of the ruling Awami League. Two years later, a second tribunal was established to expedite the trials.

The Jamaat has been opposing the tribunals from the very beginning saying the ICTs were set up to carry out political vendetta against them.

The party had protested Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. A 24-page summary of the historic verdict reads, “Jamaat-e-Islami, as an organisation, substantially contributed to creating the para-militia forces (auxiliary forces) for combating the unarmed Bengali civilians in the name of protecting Pakistan.”

Since November, the Jamaat and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, have been attacking law enforcers across Bangladesh.

This has prompted calls from several parties of the ruling coalition and other quarters to ban the Jamaat from politics. Several leftist parties have already observed a general strike over this demand.

On Monday, Jamaat-Shibir activists attacked police throughout Bangladesh demanding release of their stalwarts. Over 200 vehicles were smashed and at least 33 policemen were injured across the country.

Police have accused several thousand Jamaat-Shibir activists in cases filed over Monday’s violence. Over a hundred activists have been detained.

Meanwhile, tight security has been put in place in Paltan and areas surrounding the Baitul Mukarram as the Islamist party announced to hold programmes in those areas.

A large number of police were deployed with riot vans and water canon to prevent violence.bdnews24.com

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