Security beefed up till end of Durga Puja, BGB deployed in 22 districts
4 killed, 20 injured in protester-cop clashes
Published : Friday, 15 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 456
At least four people were reportedly killed and 20 others injured in clashes between police and protesters at Hajiganj upazila in Chandpur district amid tensions over alleged blasphemy in Cumilla.
The deceased were identified as Shamim, 19, of Randhunimura area at Barakul union of Hajiganj upazila, a hotel worker Bablu, 28, a resident of Chapainawabganj district, Al Amin, 18, of Raycho village, and Hridoy, 14, son of Fajlur Rahman of Randhunimura under Hajiganj upazila.
However, local administration imposed section 144 in Hajiganj municipality area banning any kind of public gathering, our correspondent from Chandpur reported.
In this backdrop, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troopers were deployed in the country's 22 districts to maintain law and order as tensions escalate over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Cumilla.
Director (Operations) of BGB Lt Col Faizur Rahman told this correspondent that they have deployed troopers to some 22 districts so far. They will assist local authorities till Durga Puja ends.
He also informed additional BGB members will be deployed in other districts including Dhaka, if needed.
The 22 districts include Cumilla, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Munshiganj, Chattogram, Bandarban, Moulavibazar, Noakhali, Laksmipur, Dinajpur, Bogura and Bhola.
Quoting witnesses, our correspondent from Chandpur reports that a procession was brought out at Hajiganj Bazar on Wednesday evening following reports of an incident in Cumilla.
A clash broke out while the agitators reached Hajiganj Madhya Bazar Mandir after parading main roads in the upazila. The clashes occurred as police went there to control the situation.
Hajiganj Police Station Officer in-Charge (OC) Harun-Ar-Rashid said the law enforcers were trying to take the situation under control. The clashes started when police attempted to disperse them. Regarding the issue, Chandpur's Superintendent of Police Milon Mahmud said he heard the news of deaths but could not confirm the exact number.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anjana Khan Majlish said two platoons of BGB forces were deployed at the upazila at night to avert any untoward incident.
In Chattogram, eight platoons of BGB were deployed across six upazilas - two platoons in Hathazari and Banshkhali upazilas each, and one each in Patiya, Sitakunda, Fatikchhari, and Chandanish upazilas to maintain law and order. Police in Cumilla, in separate drives on Wednesday night, detained 43 people for their alleged involvement in the clashes.
Confirming the matter, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Chittagong Range Police Anwar Hossain said, "We have also detained one Fayez Ahmed, whose video of the incident went viral, for questioning."
Meanwhile, residents of the district claimed that they are having trouble accessing the internet since Wednesday night.
Contacted, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Vice Chairman Subrata Kumar Maitra said, "Internet services in the region have been disrupted due to some technical glitches. It will take one to two days to fix the issue."
Law enforcers in Gazipur detained at least 20 suspects for allegedly attacking different Puja Mandaps in the city.
Gazipur Metropolitan Police (GMP) Commissioner Khandaker Lutful Kabir said, "We are investigating the matter to identify the culprits. Necessary steps will be taken against them as per the existing law." Gazipur Deputy Commissioner SM Tariqul Islam said, "We have asked for nine platoons of the BGB in a bid to strengthen the security in the district. We have already stationed additional Ansar members at the Puja Mandaps."
In Moulvibazar, protestors took out processions protesting the Cumilla incident, and attacked and vadalised at least seven Mandaps.
Kamalganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Ashekul Haque said, "We have visited the spots. The situation is under control now. "Moreover, two platoons of BGB members have been deployed to ensure security of Puja Mandaps since Thursday morning."
In Bandarban, many were injured, including three policemen, after locals brought out a procession and clashed with law enforcers on Thursday morning in Lama.
A temple, several shops and houses - mostly owned by members of the Hindu community - were reportedly vandalised during the skirmishes.
Bandarban Superintendent of Police Jerin Akhter said, "Police have been deployed at all the temples to avoid any untoward situation. "Members of the army and BGB are also on the ground. Everything is being monitored closely."
In Dinajpur, two platoons of BGB have been deployed with additional police force following unrest in some districts.
BGB Deputy Director Maj Shahzad Hossain said, "Two BGB platoons have already been deployed in the district. More four will be added soon."
Dinajpur Superintendent of Police Anwar Hossain said, "Durga Puja is being held in total l,281 Puja Mandaps of the district - the second highest figure in the country. We, right after the Cumilla incident, had deployed additional police force to keep everything under control." State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan, in an emergency announcement, said, "Don't take law into your own hands. Everyone should maintain religious harmony and peace."
"Anyone involved in destroying religious harmony in the country must be brought under the ambit of law and arrangements be made to give proper punishment," the State Minister added.