Security stepped up in Bangladesh following execution of Jamaat chief

Dhaka: Bangladesh on Wednesday intensified security across the country amid reports of clashes between activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and police at some places following the execution of the party chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan.

"Orders have been issued to keep the security vigil so no law and order situation is created anywhere," a home ministry spokesman told PTI after Jamaat called a nationwide general strike tomorrow to protest the execution of its top leader.

The spokesman's comments came as 1971 freedom fighters and families of the victims rejoiced the execution of the Islamist leader as the last remaining top perpetrator of war crimes during the Liberation War 45 years ago.

Bangladeshi police personnel stand guard at the Supreme Court premises in Dhaka on May 11, 2016.   Thousands of police were deployed May 11 in Bangladesh after the main Islamist party's leader was executed for war crimes, in a country reeling from a string of killings of secular and liberal activists. Jamaat-e-Islami party president Motiur Rahman Nizami was hanged at Dhaka's Central Jail late May 10, after the top court upheld his death sentence for the massacre of intellectuals during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.  / AFP PHOTO / STR

Bangladeshi police personnel stand guard at the Supreme Court premises in Dhaka on May 11, 2016. AFP

Jamaat, which was opposed to Bangladesh's 1971 independence, called a nationwide general strike Thursday protesting the execution of its 73-year-old leader describing his execution as a "planned murder".

"He (Nizami) was deprived of justice. He is a victim of political vengeance," acting Jamaat chief Mokbul Ahmed said in the statement urging people to observe the strike.

Jamaat's previous such strike calls protesting the trial of their senior leaders for war crimes largely went unheeded.

The party last called a nationwide strike on May 6, a day after the Supreme Court rejected Nizami's review petition reconfirming his death penalty.

Nizami was hanged at midnight, a day after the Supreme Court verdict reached authorities at the Dhaka Central Jail.

Several hundred policemen in riot-gear kept a vigil as Jamaat activists rallied at central Dhaka's Baitul Mokarram National Mosque to offer a funeral prayer (in absentia), a ritual they also performed in other major cities.

In the port city of Chittagong, clashes erupted between activists of the Jamaat's student wing Chhatra Shibir and police after the funeral prayer.

After the funeral prayer, the Jamaat supporters broke into the ground and started hurling bricks and stones at the police which resorted to firing to disperse the crowd.

Home-made bombs were also exploded as "pro-liberation" activists tried to drive out the Jamaat followers from the parade ground area of the port city, perceived to be a Jamaat stronghold.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Nizami had preferred not to seek presidential clemency as his last effort to avoid the noose "because he understood the crimes he had committed were unpardonable".

Nizami was buried in line with Islamic rituals at his village home at northwestern Pabna's Sathia sub-district early this morning in presence of family members and neighbours while armed police kept a sharp vigil.

Updated Date: May 11, 2016 18:13 PM

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