32 killed, many injured in Bangladesh violence

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Dhaka, Feb 28 (IANS) At 32 people including policemen were killed and scores injured in different parts of Bangladesh Thursday as clashes broke out over the trial of Islamic political leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee, media reports said.

Protesters of the court's verdict set afire a temple and houses of Hindu community in the country's Noakhali district, the Daily Star reported.

A special war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh sentenced Sayedee, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, to death for crimes stemming from the nation's 1971 fight for independence. The politically charged decision sparked violent protests.

He was found guilty of eight counts out of 20 involving mass killings, rape and atrocities during the nine-month war against Pakistan, the prosecutor Syed Haider Ali said.

The verdict was announced by the presiding tribunal judge A.T.M. Fazle Kabir in a packed courtroom.

Lawyers for the defendant boycotted the tribunal during the verdict while terming it politically motivated.

Following the court verdict, angry protesters attacked a police outpost in Gaibandha district and killed three policemen, knifed to death a police constable in Chittagong, the main seaport and second largest city of Bangladesh.

Even before the verdict was delivered, Jamaat-Shibir men took to the streets to enforce a daylong shutdown, the Daily Star reported.

As news of deaths continued pouring in from different parts of the country, panic gripped Dhaka dwellers Wednesday evening as unidentified men unleashed terror by exploding bombs in Dhaka's Mirpur-1 area.

The deceased include 16 claimed by Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir as their members, and a college teacher and two activists of Jubo League.

In northwestern Bangladesh's Thakurgaon district, about 1,500 Jamaat-Shibir men took out a procession from Goreya Bazaar in Sadar sub-district after the verdict and attacked around 15 shops and about 12 houses of Awami League men and the Hindu community.

Members of police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) teams rushed there and fired blank shots and tear shells to disperse the attackers.

Encircling the law enforcers, the marauding Jammat-Shibir men started throwing brick-bats and, at one stage, closed in to fight them.

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