1 killed, 100 injured as police clash with religious party supporters in Bangladesh

1 killed, 100 injured as police clash with religious party supporters in Bangladesh

Police in Dhaka, Cox's Bazar, and Chokoria prevented Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami supporters from holding funeral prayers in absentia for their late leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee

By SM Najmus Sakib

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - At least one Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami activist was killed and more than 100 others were injured in clashes with police on Tuesday in various parts of the country during protests after police prevented them from holding a funeral prayer in absentia for their late leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee.

One person was killed after being shot during a protest in the southeastern Chokoria municipality of Cox's Bazar, a local police officer Md Abdul Jabbar confirmed over the phone to Anadolu.

However, he claimed that the man was not killed by police because they did not use live or rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.

"We confirmed the death of a protester. We still don't know how he got bullet wounds. We will investigate the incident and take appropriate legal action," he pledged.

However, he claimed that more than five police officers were injured in the party supporters' attack, including himself.

However, Jamaat-e-Islami leaders asserted that the clashes also injured over 70 of their supporters in Chokoria, and 30 in the capital Dhaka and Chattogram.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami vice-president Delawar Hossain Sayedee, who was convicted of war crimes and was in jail for the last 13 years, died in custody at a hospital in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Monday night at the age of 83.

Sayedee, a prominent Islamic scholar and popular speaker in Bangladesh and other Muslim countries, was taken to the hospital on Sunday afternoon after suffering a heart attack.

According to the police, some religiopolitical party supporters staged a procession and attempted to hold a funeral prayer for Sayedee in absentia in Cox's Bazar without police permission. During the protest, the police alleged that they also allegedly vandalized police vehicles.

While in the southeastern Chattogram district, police arrested 30 supporters of the party when they attempted to hold a similar funeral.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police also foiled a funeral prayer attempt by party supporters at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka. Several people were detained on the spot by police.

Commissioner Khandaker Golam Faruq said on Tuesday that police would not allow Jamaat-e-Islami activists to hold a funeral prayer for Sayedee in Dhaka.

Earlier on Monday night, party supporters clashed with police while attempting to hold the main funeral in Dhaka. They took control of the BSMMU premises, where the leader had died.

Finally, the funeral was held at the late leader’s hometown in the coastal Pirojpur district, where thousands of party supporters gathered to see his body for the last time.

His supporters claimed that the government had falsely imprisoned their leader and that the court verdict was politically motivated.

- Background

In an immediate condolence message, the party said, “A grave injustice has been done to him by imprisoning him for life on a false and fabricated case.”

Sayedee had been preaching Islam for more than 50 years in the country and abroad, according to the party.

He was serving a life sentence in prison for alleged crimes committed against humanity during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Sayedee was sentenced to death in 2013 by a local court known as the International Crimes Tribunal. However, the Supreme Court reduced the penalty to life imprisonment in 2014.

At least 78 people were killed in clashes with police and other law enforcement agencies across the country as an immediate reaction to the court verdict.

The crimes tribunal, set up in 2009, has been criticized by global rights groups for not following fair trial standards. Since then, it has delivered verdicts against over 130 people in over 50 cases.

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