Dhaka (The Daily Star/ANN) - It was all lies - outright and outrageous -but it worked. Bangladesh's Islamic Jamaat-e-Islami party's propaganda machine used a photoshopped image of party vice president Delawar Hossain Sayedee's face on the moon yesterday to entice people to unleash a second wave of terror that left at least 19 people, including a policeman, dead in five districts.
The Bogra district witnessed the worst, as activists from Jamaat and its student wing, the Islami Chhatra Shibir, assembled locals through repeated announcements over loudspeakers that "Sayedee's face was seen on the moon and it's your holy duty to save him; otherwise, we all will go to hell". And around 4 in the morning, they launched into attacks on police in different parts of the district.
At least nine people were killed in Bogra, six in Joypurhat, two in Rajshahi, one in Satkhira and a policeman in Jhenidah in a deadly spate of violence throughout the day.
Three women were among the dead in Bogra, as Jamaat men used women and children as human shields during the attacks on law enforcers.
The situation worsened to such an extent that the local administration had to seek the army's help to protect the Shahjahanpur Police Station in Bogra.
At least 63 people have died since Jamaat-Shibir activists went on the rampage on Thursday after a war crimes tribunal sentenced Sayedee to death.
Yesterday was the first day of Jamaat's two-day hartal (strike) to protest Thursday's police action.
Meanwhile, Border Guard Bangladesh personnel were deployed in the capital around 8 pm to ward off violence.
The violence that began came to a halt after four hours following the news of the deployment of troops. However, army personnel were called back around 6 pm.
Similar spates of violence were seen in other districts around the country like Rajshahi, Jhenidah-where Jamaat-Shibir men hacked to death a policeman and gouged out his eye-and Chittagong.