Violence broke out after supporters of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, took to the streets in early March after Delawar Hossain Sayede, a top party leader, was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity during the country’s liberation war with Pakistan in 1971.
The unrest has killed at least 98 people, including civilians, according to civil society estimates. Analysts say it is among the worst violence since independence, when some three million died, according to the government; independent estimates put the total at under half a million deaths.
With at least seven more verdicts, appeals and hangings due, calls are mounting to minimize violence while addressing the country’s violent past.
Following violent street protests, the police have adopted a zero-tolerance policy, opening fire on protesters and killing indiscriminately, according to Odhikar, a local human rights NGO. Local media have reported between 67 and 185 deaths, including eight police.