Jamaat leader’s funeral amidst violent protests in Bangladesh

Picture source - AFP
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Approximately 50,000 individuals participated in the funeral procession for a leader of Jamaat-i-Islami in Bangladesh on Tuesday, as reported by the police. The leader, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, aged 83, had passed away in prison, triggering a series of violent protests.

Back in 2013, Sayedee had been given the death penalty for his involvement in the rape, murder, and persecution of Hindu Bangladeshis during the nation’s fight for independence several decades ago. He held the position of vice president within Jamaat.

Sayedee succumbed to a heart attack on Monday while imprisoned near Dhaka. The news led to demonstrations in the capital, which escalated into violence when law enforcement intervened to disperse the crowds.

Stringent police security oversaw the funeral proceedings in Sayedee’s hometown in the coastal district of Pirojpur. A large gathering assembled to witness his burial. Deputy district police chief Sheikh Mustafizur Rahman disclosed that approximately 50,000 individuals partook in the funeral prayer, and the burial transpired without any untoward incidents.

However, in other parts of the country, a fatal clash occurred between the police and a group attempting to organize a memorial ceremony for Sayedee. According to Chakaria duty police officer Md Selim Mia, “They assembled and aimed to hold a funeral prayer, which led to a clash with the police.” He added that one person had lost their life and several others, including policemen, were injured.

Upon the news of Sayedee’s death on Monday night, thousands of Jamaat supporters took to the streets, chanting slogans against the government. The police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protests before dawn on Tuesday, according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Faruk Hossain. The police force denied Jamaat’s request to hold a post-funeral prayer in the capital.