Jamaat makes a history by enforcing a countrywide hartal

Islamist party fights on then street

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a registered political party having its representation in the national parliament, has successfully undergone the field trial of its strength as a democratic party by enforcing a country-wide general strike on Tuesday.

It also recorded a history by calling alone a nation-wide general strike for the first time after 41 years of Bangladesh independence. It is the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is portrayed as anti-liberation force, has been pushed to the forefront of the national politics in this very month of victory.

The general strike was called after they were barred from holding a central rally in the capital on Monday on their demand for halting ‘farcical war crimes trial’ and release of their top leaders detained and being tried on charges of crime against humanity during the liberation war.

The level of determination, deployment of dedication workforce on the street and the counter actions all over the country by Jamaat-Shibir activists , defying sustained oppression by police and political campaign and physical resistance by ruling party cadres, also surprised many political observers.

The main opposition party BNP endorsed the shutdown its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami announced for Tuesday to mount pressure on the government to release its top leadership currently standing trial on war crime charges. Other parties of the BNP-led 18-party alliance also extended their support to Jamaat’s hartal.

However, the battle was fought on the street alone by Jamaat-Shibir activists.

Centering Tuesday’s general strike, Jamaat has sacrificed life of a student cadre belonging to Islami Chhatra Shibir and got more that 400 activists arrested from all over the country.

Jamaat-Shibir activists also acted with brickbats, blasting several indigenous explosive devices and vandalizing and torching police vehicles and public transports in Dhaka city and other districts during the hartal. In the scattered clashes, over 150 people, including law enforcers and Jamaat-Shibir activists were injured.

In Sylhet , police had to fire rubber bullets and several teargas shells to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir activists during the hartal hours.

Jamaat-e-Islami has shouldered the responsibility and apologised for the attack on a US embassy vehicle on Pragati Sarani in the capital during Tuesday’s shutdown in which the driver of the vehicle was injured.

The US embassy termed the attack “an affront to the entire international community”.

Jamaat, however, did not accept responsibility for the attacks on law enforcers, and vandalism and torching of vehicles across the country during the shutdown. Instead, it accused law enforcers and the ruling party men of attacking its activists.

However, the shutdown was extended by another day in the northern district of Dinajpur to protest the killing of a Shibir activists in a pre-hartal police action in Ranirbandar under Chirirbandar upazil of the district..

Mujahidul Islam, 17, a candidate for upcoming SSC exam, received bullet injury in a clash with police on Monday evening and succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital.

After a daylong lockdown, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami on Tuesday announced a countrywide agitation programme for Wednesday and a doa mahfil for Friday.

In a press release, Jamaat acting ameer Maqbul Ahmad announced the fresh programmes and sought cooperation of the countrymen in making their programmes a success.

The acting Jamaat chief also thanked the countrymen for responding to their shutdown programme spontaneously.

Meanwhile, Bngladesh Awami League chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said BNP by extending party’s moral support to Jamaat’s daylong shutdown has proved she does not want the trial of war criminals.

Aaddressing a meeting of the Awami League-led 14-party at her official residence Ganobhaban in the city, Hasina said it will not be possible for the opposition to obstruct the government-initiated trial of war criminals by killing people and enforcing hartal.

Mentioning that Jamaat is carrying out sniper attacks on the police and people only to thwart the trail, Hasina thanked the countrymen as they took to the streets to resist Jamaat.

She also urged the countrymen to come forward to resist Jamaat all the time.

Earlier last week, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while addressing a public meeting in Moulavibazar, urged BNP chief Khaleda Zia to sever her connection with Jamaat-Shibir, otherwise she will also have to face the trial for corruption, killing and nepotism along with the Jamaat-Shibir.

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