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Zia sued for killing 42 during Bangla protests

Zia sued for killing 42 during Bangla protests
Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia was on Monday sued for the alleged killing of 42 people during the anti-government violence that has engulfed the country, one of several cases filed against the embattled former premier.

Apart from BNP chairperson Zia, three other BNP officials -- standing committee member Rafiqul Islam Mia, vice chairman Shamser Mobin Chowdhury and pro-BNP intellectual Emajuddin Ahmed -- were also sued for the alleged murders.

“Khaleda Zia masterminded the incidents of killing while the rest three instigated the incidents,” AB Siddique, president of Bangladesh Jananetri Parishad, said in a complaint.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Atikur Rahman, after hearing the complaint by a pro-Awami League leader, ordered police to investigate the allegations. The complaint alleges that the supporters of BNP-led 20-party alliance hurled bombs during the non-stop movement, leaving 42 people killed and hundreds injured. The case is only one of the several cases filed against Zia. On January 27, she was charged with masterminding an arson attack. Two days before that, Zia was charged for involvement in a similar that left 29 people injured.

The nationwide blockade, that entered the 28th day on Monday, began after the government did not allow BNP to hold a rally marking the first anniversary of January 5 elections.

BNP has also launched a 72-hour strike since Sunday, alongside the nationwide blockade since January 6 marking the first anniversary of the controversial polls it boycotted and the ruling Awami League won.

The BNP boycotted the elections after its demand to hold the polls under a neutral caretaker government was rejected.

The court’s decision came as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued a stern warning to her 69-year-old bitter rival and said Zia would have to “suffer a lot” for spearheading the campaign to topple her government.

“She (Zia) will suffer much. We can take many steps against her but I don’t want to do anything right now,” a ruling Awami League lawmaker quoted Hasina as saying at a parliamentary party meet.
Hasina, however, asked her supporters not to show “extreme reaction” against the BNP and its fundamentalist ally Jamaat-e-Islami and let law enforcement agencies take action.


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