Bangladesh violence: 28 killed, top Hefazat leader remanded

Dhaka, May 7: A top leader of a radical outfit, demanding a tougher blasphemy law in Bangladesh, was remanded to police custody on Tuesday in connection with raging violence that claimed 28 lives.

The opposition called a two-day national shutdown to protest crackdown on marauding Islamists.

The Hefazat-e-Islam or 'Protectorate of Islam' unleashed riots on Dhaka streets since Sunday to mount pressure on the secular Awami League-led government to implement its 13-point demand, including the enactment of a blasphemy law to punish those who insult Islam and its Prophet.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led 18 party alliance, with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami being a major partner, called for two days of general strike from tomorrow to protest, what they said were 'atrocities' on Hefazat activists, comprising mainly of unregistered madrasa students.

Hefazat Cultural Secretary Ashraf Ali Nizampuri said his outfit was extending support to the May 8, 9 shutdown called by the BNP.

He also warned that Hefazat would start a tougher agitation programmes if its leaders and activists are not freed by May 12.

Earlier in the day, a Dhaka court sent Hifazat Secretary General Junaid Babu Nagari on a 10-day police remand in connection with a case filed over violence unleashed by the conservative outfit in Dhaka's Motijheel area on Sunday.

Babunagari has been arrested here yesterday minutes after Hefazat's veteran supremo Allama Ahmad Shafi was sent back to his hometown Chittagong.

Meanwhile, miscreants torched five bogies of a train in the port city of Chittagong.

"The miscreants torched five compartments of the Subarna Express, two of the compartments were badly burnt...this is a clear case of sabotage," railway official Mia Jahan told the news agency.

He said nobody was hurt as the miscreants set ablaze the "elite train" before dawn while it was stationed on tracks to carry passengers from Chittagong to Dhaka.

Police said they have launched an investigation into the sabotage which came after violence erupted over Chittagong- based Hefazat-e-Islam's 'Dhaka siege' programme.

Police have detained two persons for their alleged involvement in the incident, said Ahsan Habib, officer-in- charge of Government Railway Police (GRP) at Chittagong Railway Station.

Officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station in port city Chittagong Mahiuddin Selim said an investigation has been launched into the possible Hefazat or opposition links to the burning of the train.

Two days of clashes between Hefazat members and the security agencies has claimed 28 lives, authorities said.

Seven people, including an army soldier, were killed late yesterday at Hathazari area, the home of Shafi, at the outskirts of Chittagong.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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