Bangladesh’s Jamaat defers strike to Thursday

Dhaka, Feb 2: Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party Saturday deferred its planned nationwide shutdown from Monday to Thursday in the wake of ongoing second phase of an annual Muslim congregation and Hindus’ Saraswati Pooja.

The party would observe “peaceful” agitation programme across Bangladesh Monday, quoted Jamaat’s acting secretary general Shafiqur Rahman as saying in a statement Saturday.

The second phase of the Biswa Ijtema, Muslim congregation, will end Sunday with the final prayers while Saraswati Pooja is falling Tuesday.

The party had given a call for nationwide strike Friday to protest against the death sentence of its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami in a 10-truck arms haul case.

Nizami, a former industry minister during the BNP’s 2001-6 term, along with 13, was Thursday sentenced to death and life in prison in two cases filed over the arms haul.

Indian separatist outfit United Liberation Front of Asom’s (ULFA) breakaway faction leader Paresh Baruah is also among these 14. They are accused of smuggling into the country 10 truckloads of arms almost 10 years ago, an operation in which Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) was also allegedly involved.