Bangladeshis celebrate independence amid high security
Mar 26, 2007 - 8:01:59 PM

Dhaka, March 26 - Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis Monday joined in street celebrations in Dhaka, marking the 36th anniversary of the country's independence from Pakistan, officials said.

The celebrations, which included a military parade, were held amid tight security following threats of bomb attacks by suspected Islamic militants.

Bangladesh broke away from the rule of a Pakistani military junta in 1971 through a bloody separatist war fought on the soil of former eastern Pakistan that left at least three million people dead. Nearly 10 million people crossed the porous border into India as refugees during the nine-month-long war.

On Monday, more than 2,000 police commandos and anti-terror security forces were deployed in Dhaka as intelligence reports showed the outlawed extremist Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen was mobilising ahead of the nationwide observance of the anniversary.

In 2005, Mujahideen suicide bombers launched an orchestrated attack on over 60 locations across Bangladesh, grabbing global attention.

'We do not expect any wide-scale violence from the banned militants but nevertheless we are not taking any chances with security,' said police Inspector General Noor Muhammad.

A red alert was sounded for the paramilitary frontier guards Bangladesh Rifles to intensify security before the planned executions next month of six top Mujahideen leaders found guilty of a fatal grenade attack on two civilian judges.

A state of emergency was declared in Jan amid escalating political turmoil.

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