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One dead as Bangladesh police clash with Islamists

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    Police stand guard in Dhaka during a nationwide strike called by Bangladesh's largest Islamist party on August 13, 2013. One man died as police and supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami clashed Wednesday during the strike in Dhaka.AFP

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    Minimal traffic can be seen in Dhaka during a strike called by Bangladesh's largest Islamist party on August 13, 2013. Jamaat-e-Islami ordered the strike after the high court ruled this month the party's election registration was illegal because its charter breached the secular constitution.AFP

One man died as police and supporters of Bangladesh's largest Islamist party clashed Wednesday in the capital during a strike called by the group.

The violence erupted in Dhaka as security forces sought to break up dozens of supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, who were smashing cars, police said.

Jamaat ordered the two-day protest strike after Bangladesh's high court ruled earlier this month the party's election registration was illegal because its charter breached the secular constitution.

The ruling left the party unable to contest next year's general elections.

Local media, quoting witnesses, said the 20-year-old man killed was a Jamaat activist who was shot in the head on Wednesday, the final day of the two-day strike.

But police said the man died after being hit by a car as he was chased by security forces during the clash.

"They attacked us with stones and threw crude bombs at us. We dispersed them by firing rubber bullets," Rafiqul Islam, police chief in Jatrabari in Dhaka, told AFP.

Hospital officials said they could not comment on the cause of death before an autopsy report.

On Tuesday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse thousands of Jamaat supporters who staged protests west of Dhaka.

The court ruling against the party came after a case was filed in 2009 seeking to scrap Jamaat's registration, days after a secular government took power.

Secular protesters have long demanded Jamaat be banned for its role in the 1971 war of independence, during which it opposed Bangladesh's breakaway from Pakistan.

Bangladesh is reeling from deadly violence that broke out after a tribunal hearing war crime charges began handing down sentences against Jamaat's top leadership.

Several Jamaat defendants have received death sentences. Other party leaders are still on trial for charges including mass murder, rape and religious persecution.

At least 150 people have died in political violence since the start of 2013, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.