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Rioting Kills 8 in Bangladesh

by VOA News December 15, 2013

At least eight people were killed in Bangladesh on Sunday in clashes between police and rioting activists of an Islamic party who were protesting the execution of one of their leaders.

Police said the rioters torched houses and fought running street battles with officers in towns and cities during a third day of unrest since the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah for war crimes.

Mollah was hanged late Thursday, after the Supreme Court rejected his last-minute appeal.

Shortly afterwards, Bangladeshi media reported a series of arson attacks and clashes between police and Islamist protesters, leaving at least three people dead.

Many of the attacks were reported to be on ruling party supporters and minority Hindus, many of whom side with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and have praised the execution.

Mollah's party, Jamaat-e-Islami, has called for a nationwide general strike for Sunday.

Mollah was convicted of committing war crimes during the nation's war of independence against Pakistan in 1971. Critics fear his execution could begin a fresh wave of political violence before national elections set for next month.

Earlier, Jamaat-e-Islami had issued a statement warning of 'dire consequences' if Mollah were executed.

Jamaat-e-Islami sided with Pakistan during a bloody civil war that led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party says three million people died in the war. Independent researchers put the death toll between 300,000 to 500,000.

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