DHAKA, Dec. 30 -- An Islamist party leader was killed in a "gunfight" in Bangladesh's southwestern Sathkhira district on Monday afternoon amid opposition's march program.
"Anwarul Islam, also chairman of a union parishad (also union councils, the smallest rural administrative and local government units in Bangladesh) was found dead after an hour long gunfight between his party men and joint forces," Enamul Hoque, a senior police official, told Xinhua over phone from Satkhira district, some 240 km southwest of capital Dhaka.
According to police, the gunfight erupted after activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party attacked the law enforcers when they were conducting a drive in place of Satkhira, which is considered stronghold of Jamaat, a key ally in ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's 18-party alliance that continued its "March for Democracy" program Monday demanding scrap of parliament polls slated for Jan. 05.
Hoque said Islam, engaged in Jamaat politics, was a listed criminal. A Jamaat spokesman was not available for comment.
Khaleda's BNP and its 17 allies including Jamaat are boycotting the polls. The opposition alliance has asked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to bring back a non-party caretaker system, or else the opposition won't participate in the next election because it fears an election without the non-party caretaker government will not be free and fair.
Hasina's ruling Bangladesh Awami League party has vowed to resist the march program and asked its activists to guard all entry points to Dhaka.
At least two people were dead on Sunday in march violence.