Dhaka: A Bangladeshi blogger, who had been critical of Islamist groups, has been killed, prompting the protesters in Dhaka to continue their round the clock sit-in vigil demanding death penalties for 1971 war criminals. Rajib Haidar, 30, an architect and Shahbagh protest activist, was stabbed to death near his house at Pallabi in the capital Friday night.
"We have launched a massive manhunt for killers of Rajib Haidar... the detective branch and the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) separately took fingerprints to track down the assailants," a police spokesman said. The protesters at Shahbagh accused fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) of killing Haidar with lethal weapons while he was returning home.
The killing prompted the protesters to go back to their 24-hour movement instead of seven-hour programme which they had declared hours before the death. Haidar's death came hours after violence at southeastern Cox's Bazar district that left three people dead.
The violence broke out after JI activists turned violent following Friday prayers to protest their top leaders' trial for war crimes. JI and their student affiliate Islamic Chhatra Shibir were trying to wage counter protest attacking or torching vehicles and attacking policemen apparently under a hit and run strategy to halt their stalwarts' ongoing trial.
The violence saw deaths of at least 14 people including Haidar, who apparently came under wraths of the Islamists for his internet blog campaign demanding ban on the JI politics and boycott of the health, banking and other services as part of the youngsters "non-political and non-partisan" movement.
"We announce from here, we will not go back home until the war criminals are hanged, his (Haidar's) assailants are exposed to justice and politics of Jamaat and Shibir is banned," said a leading organiser of the Shahbagh protest. Meanwhile, JI has called a nationwide general strike on Monday and enforced a localised one in Cox s Bazar today to protest deaths of three of the party's activists Friday.