A tribunal on Monday issued arrest warrants against four top Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) leaders on charges of committing "war crimes" during the 1971 liberation movement.
The four, who are the top brass of the country's largest Islamist party, are arraigned for committing genocide, murder, rape, torture, loot, arson and targeting unarmed civilians during the movement that led to separation from Pakistan.
Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal allowed the police custody of JeI's chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, its secretary general Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid and two senior assistant secretary generals Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Mollah.
The prosecution had filed a petition before the tribunal seeking arrest warrants against the four who are already detained for the past few weeks, Star Online, website of The Daily Star said.
JeI opposed the freedom movement and was banned in the years immediately after the independence. It bounced back to share power in the Begum Khaleda Zia government(2001-06).
The four are among the hundreds being charged with being members of Islamist militia who targeted pro-liberation people and religious minorities in 1971.
With the Jamaat top brass arraigned and likely to be put on trial for the "war crimes", its ally and main opposition Bangladesh nationalist Party (BNP) fears that some of its leaders could be apprehended.
"The BNP ranks are worried that some of their leaders might be arrested on charges of war crimes in 1971," The Daily Star said.
The BNP top brass has yet to decide what steps to take if any leader is detained, unnamed party insiders said.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, senior joint secretary general, said the central executive committee will meet July 31 with Zia in chair to discuss, among other things, the war crimes issue and to draw up a policy guideline.