During Indian Prime Minister’s Dhaka visit on 50th Independence Day, Hefazat-e-Islam Islamist group protested against PM Modi’s visit and were shot dead in Bangladesh on Friday, officials said. Hefazat spokesman Mir Idris accused the police of “opening fire” at their “peaceful” supporters. They accused Prime Minister Modi of stoking religious tensions and inciting anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002.
These celebrations were to mark 50 years of independence from Pakistan with a focus on Bangladesh’s economic breakthroughs and big developments ended when violence broke out at Hathazari, a rural town where the group’s main leaders live, and while protesting, they were shot dead by officials. On Thursday, more than 40 people were injured, including four police officers, during a student demonstration. At least 33 people were detained for violence.
Clashes also transpired at Dhaka University on Thursday evening, when pro-government student activists allegedly beat dozens of anti-Modi student protesters. The violence has overshadowed Bangladesh’s celebrations for 50 years of independence from Pakistan.
Police inspector Alauddin Talukder stated that the hospital said, “We got four bodies here. They are all hit with bullets. Three of them are madrasa students and another a tailor.” Also, four other demonstrators were critically injured.
Ruhul Amin, the government administrator of Hathazari town, said up to 1,500 supporters of Hefazat attacked a police station chanting anti-Modi slogans. He also said, “There were some 5,000 protesters. They were all Hefazat supporters and they were mostly madrasa students. They were protesting Mr. Modi’s visit and police actions against demonstrators in Dhaka.”
He stated, “They attacked us all of a sudden,” Hathazari is home to one of Bangladesh’s largest madrasas and is the headquarters of the Hefazat, which was formed in 2010 and is believed to be the country’s largest hardline Islamist outfit.
Hefazat is known for its nationwide network and large-scale protests demanding blasphemy laws in Bangladesh. In 2013, police clashed with tens of thousands of Hefazat supporters in Dhaka, leaving nearly 50 people dead.
Hefazat aside, a diverse range of Bangladeshi groups — including students, leftists and other Islamist outfits — have been staging protests over the last few days against Mr. Modi’s visit.
Former East Pakistan emerged as a new nation in 1971 after fighting a brutal bloody war involving India where the Pakistani military and supporting militias engaged in mass murder, killing over three million people, deportation and genocidal rape, an estimated 10 million Bengali refugees fled to neighboring India, while 30 million were internally displaced.
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