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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Shahbagh protests singe Bengal

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, March 01, 2013
First Published: 23:34 IST(1/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:45 IST(2/3/2013)

A day after Bangladesh handed the death sentence to an Islamist leader for war crimes, bordering areas in West Bengal felt the heat on Friday. 

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About 50 people had died by Friday, in clashes that broke out in various parts of Bangladesh after 73-year-old vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, along with others, was found guilty of murder, arson, rape and religious persecution and was served a death sentence.

West Bengal government, meanwhile, put border districts of Malda, Murshidabad, North and South 24 parganas on high alert and even Kolkata police were busy pre-empting protests on Friday.

"Security has been heightened. We are prepared to meet any situation," ADG BSF BD Sharma told HT.

While Muslim religious leaders and organisations are backing the Jamaat (Bangladeshi) leaders, members of civil society are siding with the Shahbag square protestors who, since February 5, have been demanding death for traitors of 1971 Bangladesh war.

Muslim religious leaders and about 20 organisations are making a case for the sentenced leaders.

"They are trying to hang innocent people. Bangladesh has become a second Egypt, as many innocent people are being shot by the police. How can they call themselves Muslims," said Maulana Shafique Quasmi, Imam of Nakhoda mosque in Kolkata.

The police have so far kept a lid on agitations. Pro-Jamaat organisations proposed a rally in Kolkata on February 21.

"On the request of the police commissioner who feared violence, I and others talked to the agitators to call off the rally," said Quasmi.


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