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Friday, September 19, 2014, Aswin 4, 1421, Zilqad 23, 1435 Hijr

No Response From People
Jamaat-Shibir hartal falls flat
Publish Date : 2014-09-19,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 25
Staff Correspondent
A day-long general strike (hartal) called countrywide by Jamaat-e-Islami on Thursday was largely ignored by the people. The party known for its traditional violence on previous occasions of protests or shutdowns over various issues maintained relatively a low profile.
Thursday's hartal was intended to protest against a Supreme Court verdict pronounced a day earlier giving Jamaat's  Nayeb-e-Amir Delawar Hossain Sayedee life in prison till death for crimes against humanity during Bangladesh's 1971 War of Independence.
Sayedee said, "Alhamdulillah" after the verdict to express his thankfulness to the Almighty Allah - as the sentence saved him from the gallows that the International War Crimes Tribunal (ICT) awarded him a year ago for the same offence.
The Appellate Division of Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted the death penalty and instead sentenced him to life imprisonment - something that angered most people in the country except for Sayedee's family, friends and followers.
Jamaat called countrywide strike for Thursday and Sunday demanding that the leader of the party be freed outright.
Surprisingly, the political party did not announce any programme in the day of verdict of the top court on Wednesday while it observed shutdown on February 28 in 2013 when the ICT ordered him to be hanged.
Jamaat-Shibir men brought out separate processions and held rallies at various places of the country including the capital under close watch of the law enforcing agents and desisted from trying to create anarchy, witnesses said.   
Meanwhile, ruling Awami League and its associate organizations staged processions and meetings against hartal at Gulistan, Moulana Bhasani Stadium and Bangabandhu Avenue in the city around 11:00am.
Police have arrested at least 76 Jamaat-Shibir men from different places of the country before and after the Appellate Division verdict on Sayedee case.
Police nabbed two Jamaat-Shibir men from city's Mirpur area on Thursday around 7.30 am when they were trying to damage vehicles.
The vehicular movement seemed to be increased in Dhaka from 9:00am and traffic congestion was also visualized at different important places like other days. Heavy traffic was noticed at Paltan intersection at 12:00noon and traffic police had to face difficulties to manage the situation.
Though the pickets wrecked a private car at city's Shyamoli area but there was no other incident of violence taken place anywhere in the capital.
No long route buses were seen to leave the inter-district bus terminals in the capital but the movement of mail and express trains was quite normal.
Rajshahi: Jamaat-Shibir men were not seen active in Rajshahi city, one of the dens of religious fanatics, in the first phase of hartal on Thursday. The presence of vehicles is thin on the roads in the city
A few markets and the roadside shops remain closed while educational institutions, bank and insurance companies were opened though presence of people was thin. Production of all Jute mills and factories also run during hartal.
Sylhet: Jamaat men have locked in clash with police in Sylhet on Thursday during the strike.
Jalalabad Police Station OC Akhtar Hossain said, "Jamaat supporters demonstrated a procession at Balura in the city's Tukerbazar around 11 am. Then the police fired rubber bullets and lobbed tear gas shells when the mob threw stones at them."
The pitched battle lasted about an hour from which Police arrested two Shibir men, he added.
Lakshmipur: Local police have detained 12 Jamaat-shibir activists including municipality unit Chief Faruk Hossain while they were observing the shutdown.    
COMILLA: At least three police personnel were injured as some pickets pelted brick-stone during the hartal in Syedpur area of Burichong upazila of the district. The injured are: Officer-in-charge (OC) investigation Safi Khan, constable Badal and Constable Ruhul Amin of Burichong police station.
On the other hand, the pickets set fire on cotton loaded truck in Barera area under Dabidwar upazila at 7:00am which damaged cotton worth about Tk 20 lakh, Saleh Ahmed, the truck driver said. Dabidwar Police station Officer-in-charge Mizanur Rahman also confirmed the incident.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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