Islamist party leader killed in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Dec 30 : An Islamist party leader was killed in a gunfight in Bangladesh's Sathkhira district Monday afternoon amid country's opposition's "march for democracy" agitation.

"Anwarul Islam, also chairman of a union parishad (union councils, the smallest rural administrative and government units in Bangladesh), was found dead after an hour-long gunfight between his party men and joint forces," Enamul Hoque, a senior police official from Sathkhira district told Xinhua. Sathkhira is located about 240 km southwest of capital city Dhaka.

According to police, the gunfight broke out after activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party attacked the law enforcers when they were conducting a drive in Sathkhira, which is considered stronghold of the Jamaat.

Jamaat-e-Islami is a key constituent in former prime minister Khaleda Zia's 18-party alliance that continued its "march for democracy" Monday demanding scrapping of general elections slated for Jan 5.

Hoque said Islam engaged in Jamaat-e-Islami politics and was a listed criminal.

Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its 17 allies are boycotting the polls. The opposition alliance has asked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to bring back a non-party caretaker system, or else the opposition won't participate in the polls because it feared an election without the non-party caretaker government would not be free and fair.

Hasina's ruling Bangladesh Awami League party has vowed to resist the march and asked its activists to guard all entry points towards Dhaka.

--IANS (Posted on 30-12-2013)

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