5,000 sued, 15 held, public gathering banned in Bhola

Staff Correspondent | Published: 12:33, Oct 21,2019 | Updated: 23:54, Oct 21,2019


Local administration of Bhola imposes ban on public gathering and tightens security measures on Monday— a day after clashes between protesters and police that left four people dead. — UNB photo

Police filed a case with Borhanuddin police station against 4,000 to 5000 unnamed people on Sunday night in connection with a clash between police and local protesters over a Facebook post allegedly having derogatory comments on Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) and his daughter Fatima that left four killed and scores injured in Borhanuddin upazila town of the island district of Bhola.

Borhanuddin police station officer-in-charge Enamul Huq said sub-inspector Abid Hossain lodged the case for attacking the police, obstructing them from discharging their duties and damaging public properties in Borhanuddin upazila town.

He said that the police fired at least 100 shotgun bullets, 50 china rifle bullets and 19 rounds of teargas shells to control the situation on Sunday and protect properties and lives, the police official added.

The situation is calm at present and law enforcers including Border Guard Bangladesh, Coast Guard, and police were patrolling in the upazila and district towns to ensure that the situation remained under control, he said.

Bhola district deputy commissioner Mohammad Masud Alam, against the backdrop of the clash, said that they imposed a ban on all kinds of public gatherings or rallies in the district from Monday morning to keep the law and order situation under control.

The ban will continue until further order, he said.

Due to the ban, Sarbadalio Muslim Oikya Parishad, Bhola, an organisation created to protest against the alleged derogatory comments against the prophet and his daughter and against killing four people and injuring scores, scrapped their rally scheduled to be held in front of the Bhola Press Club in the district town on Monday morning.

A huge number of police were deployed on and around the press club since morning to avert any further incidents.

SMOP leaders, however, held a press conference at the Bhola Press Club in the morning and blamed the administration for the clash, deaths and the injuries.

Reading out a written statement, the parishad member secretary Taj Uddin placed a six-point demand to the government and gave an ultimatum of 72 hours to implement of their demands.

The demands include withdrawal of district police superintendent and officer-in-charge of Borhanuddin police station and punishment for those who opened fire and ordered to open fire on protesting people, formulating law with capital punishment for making derogatory comments on the prophet, Allah and Islam, capital punishment for Biplob Chandra Shuvo, from whose Facebook account the alleged derogatory comments against the prophet and his daughter was posted, compensation for the families of four dead victims and all the treatment costs for injured ones, release of all arrested and no further arrest in connection with Sunday’s incident and not lodging any case in this connection.

He said that the administration had accepted all their demands.

Bhola assistant superintendent of police Sheikh Sabbir Hossain said that a total of 15 people were detained in this connection until Monday evening, New Age correspondent in Barishal reported.

Responding to a question on the demands of the parishad at a press conference at Bhola Circuit House on Monday, Barishal range deputy inspector general Md Shafiqul Islam said that the government’s related authorities would take a decision on the demands.

He said that they were investigating into the incident and would take steps based on the result of the probe.

Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission chairman Nasima Begum, in a press statement, said that the death of four people was unexpected and that the incident was created in a bid to destroy religious harmony which was a sheer violation of human rights.

Expressing concerns over the incident, she said that the commission was observing the situation.

Different Islamist organisations in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country staged demonstration protesting the killing of four people and trial of those responsible for the Facebook post, especially Biplob Chandra Shuvo, from whose Facebook account the alleged derogatory comments were shared.

In Dhaka, Islami Andolan Bangladesh held a protest rally in the afternoon in front of North Gate of Baitul Mokkaram National Mosque from where its nayebe amir Syed Fayezul Karim announced countrywide protest rallies on next Friday, protesting against the killings in police firing at Borhanuddin.

The programmes included holding prayer sessions in mosques across the country to commemorate those who died and holding protest rallies in all the districts.

The rally was followed by a protest processions that paraded through different city roads and ended at Paltan crossing.

Dhaka city unit of Ahle Sunnat Waal Jama’at Bangladesh formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club around noon, protesting against the killing of innocent people and making derogatory comments on the prophet.

A huge number of musallis, especially students of different Kawmi madrassahs in Mohammadpur, staged demonstration and blocked the road near Town Hall Jame Masjid at Mohammadpur for about an hour since 10:30am.

New Age correspondent in Chattogram reported that Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh on Monday announced a countrywide protest programme over Bhola clash for Tuesday.

Hefazat secretary general Junayed Babunagari declared the protest programme in a press briefing at Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, also known as Hathazari Madrassah, in Chattogram.

Babunagari demanded a through inquiry into the clash.

He said that they would announce their next course of actions if their demands are not met soon, specially if the government would not bring the accused under trial by 15 days.

Meanwhile, security was beefed up in different temples in Chattogram to avoid any untoward incident after a zealous mob vandalised Hathazari Model Police Station on Sunday evening protesting against the killing of innocent people in Bhola.

Panic spread on the area after the attack and businessmen shut down the shops for the day.

Later the mob blocked the Hathazari-Khagrachari highway and Hathazari-Rangamati highway, leading to the collapse of vehicle movement till 5:00pm.

A message allegedly having derogatory comments against the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) and his daughter Fatima was sent from a Facebook account of a local Hindu youth named Biplob Chandra Shuvo on early Thursday and its screenshots went viral on Friday and Saturday on Facebook.

Police headquarters in a statement on Sunday said that Biplob on Friday evening lodged a general diary alleging that his Facebook account had been hacked and such a comment was passed through his hacked Facebook account.

Biplob also informed the officer-in-charge that an unidentified caller had called him demanding toll, the statement said, adding that using the digital technology the police tracked down and arrested two Muslim youths — Sharif and Emon — from Patuakhali and Borhanuddin on the same night for hacking Biplob’s facebook account and demanding toll.

Biplob was detained at the police station as tension mounted among local Muslims over the Facebook post.

As the protesters in groups under the banner of Muslim Touhidi Janata came to the area chanting slogans for capital punishment for the ‘offender’ and began a rally, police asked the demonstrators to shorten the rally but a group of protesters attacked the police leading to the clash.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email