Dhaka - A new round of deadly clashes erupted on Friday in Bangladesh, a day
after the sentencing to death of a senior Islamist leader unleashed the
bloodiest bout of violence since independence four decades ago.
One man was killed after hundreds of pro-government supporters and followers
of the rival Jamaat-e-Islami party clashed with sticks at a market in the
northern district of Gaibandha, local police chief Nahidul Islam told AFP.
On Thursday clashes broke out across the country after Jamaat's vice
president was found guilty of murder, religious persecution and rape by a war
crimes tribunal hearing cases dating back to the 1971 independence conflict.
Delwar Hossain Sayedee was the third person to be convicted by the tribunal
whose previous verdicts have also been met with outrage from Islamists who say
the process is more about score settling than delivering justice.
At least 34 people were killed in violence on Thursday, according to AFP,
which compiled the death toll after talking to police in the 15 districts where
protests turned deadly.
It was the deadliest political day of violence in the impoverished country's
history since winning its independence from Pakistan in 1971.
The latest death on Friday brought the overall toll to 52 since the tribunal
delivered its first verdict on January 21.
Security has been tightened across the Muslim-majority country ahead of
Friday prayers, with border guards deployed in major cities.
Police have banned a number of planned demonstrations at several
troublespots while authorities in the country's biggest mosque, Baitul
Mokarram, have locked some of the gates in a bid to limit numbers.
Twenty-three of those killed on Thursday were shot after police opened fire
on thousands of rampaging Jamaat supporters who attacked law-enforcers with
sticks and stones.
Four policemen were killed, two beaten to death by protesters.
Jamaat, which rejected the verdict as politically motivated, has said 50 of
its "innocent" supporters were shot dead by police Thursday who
"hunted them like birds".
About 300 people, including scores of policemen, were also injured, doctors,
police and local media said.
Police also reported attacks on several Hindu homes and temples by Islamists
in the southern Noakhali and Chittagong districts. One old Hindu man was killed
in the attack in Chittagong, police said