At least four people were killed and 90 others injured as activists of different Islamist organisations clashed with the police and ruling Awami League activists in Dhaka and Chattogram during protests against Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Bangladesh.
Of the victims, four were killed and 10 others injured in Chattogram and 80 more were injured in Dhaka.
Hefazat-e-Islam on Friday evening called a daylong general strike for Sunday protesting at the alleged attack on its activists and the death of four people in a clash between its activists and the police at Hathazari in Chattogram on the day, reported New Age staff correspondent in Chattogram.
Hefazat educational and cultural secretary Harun Ezhar made the announcement in front of Chattogram Medical College Hospital at about 9:15pm.
‘The decision of calling strike was made by Hefazat-e-Islam amir Junaid Babunagari. We just announced the decision,’ he said.
Four people — Robiul Islam, 22, from Cumilla, Mohrajul Islam, 22, from Madaripur, Md Jamil, 20, from Hathazari, and Md Mizan, 23, from Mymensingh were killed and 10 others were injured in a clash between Hefazat-e-Islam activists and police at Hathazri in Bangladesh’s port city Chattogram.
Five of the injured are Emam Uddin, 25, Belal Hossain, 22, Saiful Islam, 24, Ibrahim Khalil, 25, Imran Hossain, 24, said Chattogram Medical College Hospital police outpost in-charge inspector Jahirul Hoque Bhuiyan.
Hefazat-e-Islam activists took to the streets protesting at the arrival of Modi, who is in Bangladesh on a two-day visit to join the celebrations of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the birth centenary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Inspector Jahirul said that eight people were rushed to the hospital with bullet injuries and the doctors on duty declared four of them dead.
The clash broke out at about 2:00pm when Hefazat activists launched a demonstration in the area and vandalised Hathazari police station, said Chattogram district police additional superintendent Shahadat Hossain.
Hefazat amir Junaid Babunagari came to Chattogram Medical College Hospital at about 5:00pm to visit the injured and deceased.
In Dhaka, at least 80 people, including journalists Ishtiaq Imon and Prabir Das, were injured as activists of different Islamist parties locked in a clash with police and ruling Awami League activists in Baitul Mukarrom National Mosque area in Dhaka after Jumma prayers.
The clash began about three hours after the arrival of the Indian prime minister in the capital at about 10:30am.
Despite the presence of huge number of police in the mosque area, the protesters, immediately after the Jumma prayers at the Baitul Mukarrom National Mosque, tried to bring out a procession at about 1:45pm denouncing Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.
The police barred the procession at the mosque gate, witnesses said.
A clash occurred between AL activists and the protesters there, the witnesses said, adding that the protesters from the mosque and the ruling party activists by the side of police outside the mosque began to throw brick bats at each other.
The police fired teargas shells targeting the protesters on the mosque premises to disperse the protesters, they said.
Police stopped traffic on the roads surrounding the mosque during the clash till 5:00pm.
The clash continued until 3:00pm when injured people were being taken to hospitals and the Islamist party activists became confined to the mosque.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Matijheel zone deputy commissioner Syed Nurul Islam said that they fired teargas shells to disperse the clashing groups — one protesting Indian prime minister’s visit and the other welcoming him.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost in-charge inspector Bachchu Mia said that 70 people injured in the clash received treatment at the hospital’s emergency department.
New Age Correspondent in Brahamanbaria, quoting police officials and witnesses, reported that several hundred madrassah students staged demonstration on the city’s main road, TA Road, burning tyres at about 2:30pm. The protesters vandalised the rail station’s signal, station master’s room and the station control room
Left political parties, different student and youth organisations as well as Islamist parties have been protesting against Modi’s visit to Bangladesh for past several days.
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