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Two Bangladeshi leaders executed for war crimes 

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Dhaka: Bangladesh executed two political leaders, convicted of war crimes during the country’s independence war in 1971, amid tight security early on Sunday.

Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunals had found the two guilty of collaborating with Pakistani forces and committing crimes, including mass killings.

The executions of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, were carried out at 12.55 a.m., Jahangir Kabir, jail superintendent of Dhaka Central Jail, as saying.

The two walked to the gallows together at Dhaka Central Jail amid tight security, Brigadier Gen. Syed Iftekhar Uddin, inspector general (prisons), told.

The execution took place hours after Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid rejected their mercy pleas, clearing the way for their execution.

The family members of Mojaheed and Chowdhury, who met them at the jail for the last time before the executions, claimed they did not seek presidential mercy.

About two hours after executions, ambulances carrying the bodies left the jail for Mojaheed and Chowdhury’s ancestral homes.

Authorities have tightened security in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country in the wake of the executions.

Thousands of security personnel have been stationed at key state institutions.

A four-member bench of Bangladesh Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha on Wednesday had dismissed the review petitions of Mojaheed and Chowdhury.

Chowdhury was a leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which is headed by ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia, a rival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

After returning to power in January 2009, Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established the first tribunal in March 2010, almost 40 years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan.

Both — the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami party — have dismissed the court as a government “show trial”, saying it is a domestic set-up without the oversight or involvement of the UN.

Jamaat-e-Islami party has called for a strike on Monday.

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Woman, three children die in fire in UP village

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Banda, Dec 26 : Three children and their mother were burnt to death in a fire which spread from a bonfire in Dubey Purva Mau village in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Mahendra Pratap Chauhan, said, “Kallu, a resident of Dubey Purva village in Marka police station area in Banda district is a daily wager from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He lived there along with his wife and three children. The sparks emanating from the bonfire lit due to the cold gutted the entire house. Possible other reasons behind the fire are also being probed.”

According to the locals, the villagers raised an alarm when they saw the flames engulfing Kallu’s house. By the time they were able to break open the door, the entire house had turned into rubble. There was only burnt debris and smoke everywhere. On receiving information, the police arrived and the fire brigade too reached the site.

Villagers said the mother and her three children were burnt to death in the fire in the kuccha house which began from a bonfire. The police and the fire brigade personnel put out the fire and removed the bodies from the rubble.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate said prima facie the cause of the fire appears to be the sparks from the bonfire. But only an investigation can confirm the actual reason.

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