(Left) Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and pro-Jamaat student organisation Islami Chhatra Shibir vandalise state-owned BASIC Bank Limited’s Rainagar branch in Sylhet city yesterday, the 6th day of the opposition’s 144-hour blockade ending 6:00am today. (Right) Masum Ahmed, a former Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activist and brother of former Sylhet city unit BCL joint convener ASM Rashed, fires at the activists who had turned their attention from the bank to his residence, situated right behind the financial institution. Photo: Banglar Chokh
Riled at the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah, Jamaat-Shibir men last night beat an Awami League leader in Satkhira dead and torched over 100 houses and shops in Nilphamari and Satkhira.
A group of Jamaat-Shibir activists beat up Azizur Rahman, ex-president of Gopinathpur union unit of AL in Kalaroa upazila of Satkhira, at his village home around midnight, leaving him dead on the spot, said police.
Witnesses said Jamaat-Shibir men blocked the Nilphamari-Domar road and stormed the houses of local Awami League leaders and Hindus at Beltali bazar around 2:00am today.
Islami Chhatra Shibir activists set fire to two control boxes of BTCL in Chittagong city’s Sirajuddoula area yesterday after the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah to review his death penalty. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
The attackers burnt down the house of Laxmichap union AL president Shyam Charan Roy to ashes. They roughed up the elderly AL leader and his family members.
A freedom fighter, Shyam Charan was admitted to Nilphamari General Hospital, reports our correspondent.
Earlier around 9:00pm, another group of Jamaat-Shibir men torched about 80 shops at Kacharibazar in the same union.
Police could not reach the spot as the Jamaat men blocked the Nilphamari-Domar road near Horitokitola and damaged a bailey bridge there.
In Satkhira, Jamaat-Shibir men set fire to four houses of local AL activists at Kalaroa. Another group of vandals looted five houses and set those afire and damaged a rice mill at Agardari in Sadar Upazila around midnight, said witnesses.
Jamaat-Shibir activists set fire to the union AL office at Budhata in Sadar Upazila and also to at least eight shops at Jhaodanga bazar and Asashuni in the district.
The opposition activists blocked the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar highway on a stretch between Satkania and Lohagora at 11:00pm, halting traffic on the road.
In Feni, Jamaat men torched 10 vehicles at Mahipal and Muhuri Bridge areas on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway and attempted setting fire to the local office of the Power Development Board. They also hurled a petrol bomb at the local branch of Mercantile Bank.
In Dinajpur, Jamaat-Shibir arsonists last night set ablaze the house of AL lawmaker (Dinajpur-6) Azizul Haque and a petrol pump.
JUDGE’S HOME ATTACKED
The village home of an international crimes tribunal judge in Chapainawabganj came under bomb attacks, exposing once again the government’s failure in ensuring the security of those involved in the trial of war criminals.
One petrol bomb and four hand-made crude bombs were thrown into the compound of the house of Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, chairman of International Crimes Tribunal-1, around 1:00pm, reported our Chapainawabganj correspondent.
Kabir’s family members were inside the house at Chamagram village of sadar upazila at the time but no one was hurt, said Fazle Kabir’s younger brother Golam Kabir.
The attack came in a series of events, revealing the danger that war crimes witnesses, victims, prosecutors and even judges face amid a lack of security measures by the government.
Mostafa Hawlader, a key witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee, succumbed to his stab injuries on Tuesday two days after he had been hacked in his sleep at his Pirojpur home.
This death was followed by the torching of the village home of a senior Appellate Division judge, Surendra Kumar Sinha, at Kamalganj in Moulvibazar.
He was on the five-member bench of the Supreme Court, which on September 17 awarded the death penalty to Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah for wartime offences.
Golam Kabir said the petrol bomb had smashed a windowpane of a room where six policemen were on guard.
Officer-in-Charge of Chapainawabganj Sadar Police Station Jasimuddin said police were suspecting Jamaat-Shibir men of making the attack.
Though justice seekers and campaigners of the war crimes trial have been demanding a law for the protection of witnesses, victims and others concerned, no such step has yet been taken.
Regarding witness protection, the government only formed national and district committees that have reportedly failed to assess the threats to the witnesses.
A number of prosecution witnesses received death threats in the last two years and, recently, bombs were exploded near the residences of several prosecutors.
Meanwhile, police have arrested three leaders and activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat, for their alleged involvement in setting fire to the village home of Supreme Court Senior Judge SK Sinha on Wednesday.
Saifur Rahman, 25, joint secretary of upazila unit Shibir and party activists Kamruzzaman, 35, and Fokrul Islam, 41, were arrested in Kamalganj upazila of Moulvibazar, reported our district correspondent.