The prime minister is visiting Dhaka to join the country’s golden jubilee of independence
NEW DELHI — At least four people were killed and dozens injured when activists of a non-political Islamic group clashed with police in Chittagong, Bangladesh’s largest port city, on Friday afternoon, Anadolu new agency reported quoting local police.
The protest had erupted against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The visit also sparked protests in capital Dhaka where dozens of people including journalists were wounded. At that time, Modi was meeting with political leaders at the Sonargaon Hotel in Karwan Bazar, not far from Dhaka’s Baitul Mukarram Mosque where violence took place.
In Chittagong, several hundreds of Hefazat-e-Islam activists gathered after Friday prayers to protest Modi’s visit. The police, on the other hand, erected barricades and blocked the roads, infuriating the activists.
The protesters attempted to dismantle the barricades, which sparked the clash. To disperse the demonstrators, police used tear gas shells and live bullets, as well as beating them with batons, according to eyewitnesses.
“Four are dead and their bodies have been taken to the morgue for autopsy,” Alauddin Talukder, assistant sub-inspector of the Chittagong Medical College Police Outpost, told Anadolu.
The prime minister landed in Dhaka on Friday morning along with his entourage members on a two-day visit to join Bangladesh’s golden jubilee of independence and the 100th birth anniversary of its founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Those wounded in Dhaka included three journalists. The police used tear gas shells to disperse demonstrators who were planning to march on a major road against Modi’s visit.
After the weekly Friday prayers, the protesters planned to begin a rally from the northern gate of Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka. However, the police refused to allow them. The area quickly became a battleground as some people pelted the police with stones, prompting them to retaliate with tear gas shelling.
Hundreds of plainclothes men carrying sticks targeted the protesters as well. Police were also seen sitting in riot shielded vehicles firing on the demonstrators.
Protesters set fire to many vehicles, including a motorcycle. After nearly two hours, the police were able to get the situation under control.
– With input from Anadolu and IANS