Eastern Times, Dhaka, 29 march: Thousands of supporters of a Fundamentalist Islamist group attacked Hindu temples and a train in eastern Bangladesh on Sunday (Mar 28), police said, as violence spread across the country in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.
At least 13 protesters were killed in clashes with police during demonstrations organised by Fundamentalist against the Indian PM’s visit, and violence raged on after his departure as anger swelled over the deaths.
But activist Hefazat-e-Islami Bangladesh on Sunday claimed that a total of 17 people were killed and over 500 were injured between Friday and Sunday during protests against the recent Bangladesh visit of Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India.
Hefazat secretary general Nurul Islam, addressing a press conference at Khelafat Majlish Bangladesh central office at Paltan in Dhaka, also announced two-day programmes that include a countrywide demonstration on April 2 protesting against the killing and injuring of their activists in attacks across Bangladesh since Friday.
Modi arrived in Dhaka on Friday to mark the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s nationhood, and left on Saturday after gifting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine shots.
The Islamist groups accuse Modi of discriminating against minority Muslims in Hindu-majority India and violence escalated rapidly during his visit.
On Friday, dozens of people were injured in the densely-populated capital Dhaka as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. Thousands of Islamist activists marched down the streets of Chittagong and Dhaka on Saturday in protest.
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On Sunday, activists with the Hefazat-e-Islam group attacked a train in the eastern district of Brahmanbaria.
“They attacked the train and damaged its engine room and almost all the coaches,” one police official Our Correspondent, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Mohammad hanif, a journalist in the Brahmanbaria town, told Our Correspondent, Several Hindu temples in the town were also attacked.
Islamist activists allegedly also set alight two buses in the western district of Rajshahi on Sunday, while hundreds of protesters clashed with police in Narayanganj, pelting them with stones, police said.
Protesters used timber and sand bags to block roads, as police retaliated with rubber bullets and tear gas, leaving dozens injured in Narayanganj, just outside the capital, Dhaka.
The protests sparked by Modi’s visit have since flared into wider demonstrations against police killings, and the Hefazat-e-Islam enforced a nationwide strike on Sunday.
“Police opened fire on our peaceful supporters,” Hefazat-e-Islam’s organising secretary Azizul Haque told a rally in Chittagong on Saturday. “We will not let the blood of our brothers go in vain.
Bangladesh Police have filed six cases against more than 8,000 unknown people over attacks, vandalism, and arson during protests of Hefazat-e-Islam in Dhaka and Brahmanbaria.
Though violent clashes and attacks also took place in Chattogram and Narayanganj, but no case was filed in the districts so far.