The decision to hang Mollah, a senior figure in the
Jamaat-e-Islami party that is a key part of the opposition
coalition, drew widespread condemnation from political allies and
international human rights groups.
But many citizens celebrated the first ever execution of a
Bangladesh war criminal, which took place late on Thursday at the
Dhaka Central Jail in the capital.
"It is a great gift to me as person, and it is consistent with the
spirit of our liberation war," Selina Hossain, a writer whose family
was tortured during the conflict, told Reuters.
"It is also a symbolic honour to the souls of three million martyred
Mollah, dubbed the "Butcher of Mirpur" in Bangladesh for his part in
hundreds of killings 42 years ago, was buried in the early hours of
Friday in his home village in the southern district of Faridpur.
In the latest violence, Jamaat supporters set fire to vehicles and
houses, looted shops, set off crude bombs and blocked roads in
several parts of the country.
Police said two Awami League activists were hacked to death in
Satkhira, in the southwest, early on Friday.
One person died in clashes between police and Jamaat supporters in
the southern district of Noakhali and a driver was killed after
Jamaat protesters chased him down.
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Mollah's execution has worsened tensions that were already running
high, threatening to cripple Bangladesh's economy, notably its
$22-billion garment industry.
There has been almost daily unrest in the impoverished nation of 160
million people since last month's announcement of parliamentary
elections on January 5.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League are
determined to go ahead with the vote, but the opposition, led by
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) head Begum Khaleda Zia, says it
will not participate unless an interim government is installed and
Hasina steps down.
Senior leaders from the Awami League and BNP-led opposition were
expected to meet later on Friday for a third round of talks to break
the political deadlock.
(Additional reporting and writing by Mike Collett-White)
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