Bangladesh Islamist party fights street battle

Dhaka–With  their  nine  top leaders  facing  trial  for  crime  committed during 1971,  leaving  their party office  under virtual siege for  last 18 months  and  about 18,000 party leaders and workers  in  prison facing  almost 16,000  cases  filed  during the present regime, Bangladesh  Jamaat-e-Islam  have  finally  decided  to fight  back alone on  the street.

After  the high profile  strategic  India visit  of the  opposition alliance  leader   Begum Khaleda Zia,  Jamaat leadership clearly understood  that  they will have  to fight  their own battle  with the  government  of  Sheikh Hasina  which   have been  spearheading   all-out  attacks  against  the  Islamic political party .

It  was also  an eye opener  for  Jamaat   that   the “Loggi-Baitha”  brand  of  street  battle  of   October 28, 2006  was  to  be  recalled  by  Jamaat alone  with  about  40 of  their  workers  arrested  at  National Press Club   gate  and  the designated  BNP speakers avoiding  the  scheduled  meeting

While  announcing  the  latest  round  of   agitation programme from  Novwmber 05 , Jamaat assistant secretary general Prof Miah Golam Parwar held the government responsible for not allowing them to hold any meeting, gathering and bring out any procession,  although  Jamaat was a legally registered political party having representations in the Jatiya Sangsad.

He claimed that 18,000 activists of Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir were arrested since Awami League assumed office in 2009. “Some 1,600 cases have been filed against about 2 lakh Jamaat-Shibir activists during the period,” he added.

Miah Golam Parwar also claimed that the Jamaat leaders, accused of crimes committed against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971, are victims of political vengeance and they are leading an inhuman life in prisons.

He termed the International War Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 a ‘black law’ and accused the government of making a farce in the name of holding war crimes trial.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami activists, demanding release of their leaders detained and being tried on charges of crimes against humanity, on Monday  undertook  the  risk  of  street confrontation with police by  bringing  out  processions  in  the  capital  and  different  district headquarters  throughout  the country .

While demonstrating at the capital’s Motijheel on Monday afternoon,  clashes broke out as police intercepted a rally. The clashes lasted for an hour when the party activists set a government bus, a police vehicle and several motorbikes ablaze.  Police charged batons and   fired teargas shells to take control of the situation as the protestors hurled them with stones and brickbats during  one-hour clash.

At least six injured policemen were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment. Police also detained several protestors from the scene.

On  the  following  morning,  police  lodged three cases accusing  over four hundred activists of Jamaat-e-Islami .  As many as 65 were named in the three cases while others were unnamed.

Jamaat metropolitan unit spokesman Safiqul Islam Masud blamed the police for instigating the clash. He said that police attacked their procession unprovoked.

However, State Minister for Home Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku on Monday alleged that BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami have been creating chaos in the country in the name of movement to hinder the war crimes trial.

Accusing BNP of backing Jamaat to carry out the violent activities, Tuku said, “stern actions will be taken against the troublemaking Jamaat activists and they’ll be tried under the law of the country.”

Earlier on Friday,  Tuku   warned  that “they (BNP-Jamaat) are making an ill-attempt to disrupt democracy in the country through creating anarchy” . Tuku called for waging a united movement against the ‘evil force’ for what he said to save the country and its democracy.

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