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Blast Hits Outside Indian President's Hotel in Dhaka

  • VOA News

Bangladeshi policemen stand guard in front of the hotel where the visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee is staying in Dhaka, March 4, 2013.

Bangladeshi policemen stand guard in front of the hotel where the visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee is staying in Dhaka, March 4, 2013.

Police in the capital of Bangladesh say a homemade bomb has exploded outside a hotel where the president of India is staying.

It was not immediately clear whether Pranab Mukherjee was in the hotel Monday in Dhaka at the time of the blast.

Police say no one was injured in the explosion, which comes amid a nationwide general strike in Bangladesh called by Islamists to protest the death sentence handed down to one of its senior leaders.

Officials say at least 58 people have died in clashes between police and demonstrators since Thursday when Delwar Hossain Sayedee, a senior member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal after being convicted for atrocities, including rape and mass killings.

Sayedee's lawyer has called the verdict unjust and has vowed to appeal.

Sayedee is the third Jamaat-e-Islami party member to be sentenced for war crimes since the tribunal was established in 2010.

At least eight more Jamaat-e-Islami members are still on trial.

Human rights organizations have questioned the fairness of the trials, saying members of the defense have been unduly pressured.

Bangladesh fought a nine-month war against Pakistan in 1971 to obtain its independence. The government says three million people died in the violence, although other estimates put the death toll lower.
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