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Bangladesh Riots may increase Extremism

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The death penalty awarded to a senior Islamist party leader of Bangladesh triggered country-wide riots prompting authorities to impose ban order in the troubled areas. The ongoing clashes and violence will never take the country to achieve development; rather will create chaos and skepticism.

The situation may spark more violence in the coming days. India’s neighbouring country, which still dwells in poverty, may be dominated by Extremism if the violence will continue.

The series of clashes erupted after Jamaat-e-Islami party leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was awarded death sentence by International Crimes Tribunal. The verdict came after he was found guilty of eight counts out 20, involving rape, mass killings and atrocities during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

Sayeedi was accused of working with the al-Badr group during the independence struggle. He was also accused of forcibly converting Hindus to Islam.

While Jamaat-e-Islami termed the verdict as biased, it was welcomed by anti-Jamaat protesters, who were demanding the execution of 73-year-old Islamist leader by the Tribunal.

Jamaat-e-Islami had opposed to the independence of Bangladesh and wanted to be the part of Pakistan. However, the leaders denied any role in war crimes against civilians. The court observed that more than 3 million people were killed in the liberation war.

However, the current situation in the country reminded the scenes of past when people were killed mercilessly for fighting for freedom. Thursday can be described as the worst day of political violence in the history of Bangladesh in decades after clashes took place between police and jamaat supporters across the country. More than 46 people were killed in clashes in several areas on Thursday.

The violence also erupted on Friday in the northern districts of Gaibandha and Chapainawabganj between pro-Jamaat protesters and supporters of the governing Awami League. Two people were killed in the clash yesterday.

Jamaat protesters did not sit silent even after security forces were deployed following the verdict on Thursday and staged demonstrations in the capital Dhaka after Friday paryers. The situation remained worst after police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters leaving several people injured. The authorities were forced to impose ban order across the JI strongholds under section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code.

The ongoing protests and violence are no doubt pushing the country towards a serious crisis. The mass killing and panic situation put the government in trouble. Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh’s main opposition leader, strongly condemned the government’s action against Jamaat supporters. It can be noted that opposition is likely to join the protests to take an advantage of the situation.

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