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DHAKA: The number of people killed in clashes in Bangladesh over the conviction of Islamist leaders for war crimes rose to 53 since the tribunal delivered its first verdict on January 21, with two deaths in fresh violence yesterday.
The two people were killed when of pro-government supporters and followers of the rival Jamaat-e-Islami party battled each other with sticks in the northern districts of Gaibandha and Chapainawabganj, police said.
In the capital Dhaka, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to break up Jamaat protests after the Islamists tried to stage marches following weekly prayers, leaving several people injured, police said, adding three policemen were also hurt in a homemade bomb attack by Jamaat student activists in the port city of Chittagong.
On Thursday, violence flared across Bangladesh after Jamaat’s Vice-President, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, was sentenced to death for murder, religious persecution and rape during the 1971 independence war. The 73-year-old firebrand preacher was the third person to be convicted by a war crimes tribunal whose verdicts have been met with outrage from Islamists, who say the process is more about settling scores than delivering justice. At least 35 people were killed in Thursday’s unrest. The leader of the main opposition and two-time ex-prime minister, Khaleda Zia, urged the government to stop the “genocide” of Jamaat supporters. AFP