A tense situation is prevailing in Bhola town after a religious group today sought permission for holding a rally protesting yesterday’s clash but was denied as the local administration imposed a ban on rallies and meetings in the district.
Failing to get permission for the rally, Shorbodoliyo Muslim Oikkya Parishad placed a six-point demand at a press conference at Bhola Press Club around 11:30am.
Contacted, Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Masud Alam Siddique earlier said the ban was imposed on any meetings and rallies in the entire district of Bhola for an indefinite period to avert further tension.
At least four people were killed and more than a hundred others were injured yesterday as religious zealots clashed with police in Bhola’s Borhanuddin upazila over a hate conversation spread through Facebook’s messenger app.
A large number of law enforcers—Border Guard Bangladesh, Police and Rapid Action Battalion members—have been deployed in the area to keep the situation under control.
WHAT ARE THE DEMANDS?
Below are the demands placed by Shorbodoliyo Muslim Oikkya Parishad:
1. Withdraw the Superintendent of Police of Bhola district and Officer-in-charge of Borhanuddin Police Station and punish those who directed to open fire on Tawhidi Muslim.
2. Enact strict law for trying those who hurt Prophet (SM), Allah and Islam
3. Capital punishment of the Hindu youth what they claimed was responsible for the hate conversation against Prophet.
4. Provide compensation to the victims’ families who died in yesterday’s clash.
5. Bear the treatment expenses of the injured persons.
6. Unconditional release of those who were arrested yesterday in connection with the Bhola mayhem
Mizanur Rahman, joint member secretary of the platform, read out the statement while Bashir Uddin, convener of the platform announced their next course of action.
The group announced to hold a demonstration in front of all police facilities of Bhola district tomorrow. They will also hold a human chain at Bhola Sadar Road on Thursday and will organise a Duaa Mahfil on Friday at Atkhola Mosque of Bhola.
They vowed to continued their protest until their demands are met.
WHAT HAPPENDED IN BHOLA YESTERDAY?
Tension grew in Borhanuddin upazila on Friday afternoon soon after the hate conversation was circulated allegedly from the youth’s Facebook account to some of his Facebook friends, said locals and police.
Around 8:00pm on Friday, the youth, a student of Bhola Government College, went to Borhanuddin Police Station and filed the GD. Police then took him in custody.
Throughout Saturday, a group of locals under the banner of “Sarbastorer Muslim Tawhidi Janata” staged demonstrations at the upazila headquarters, Kunjerhat and Borhanganj bazar, demanding trial of the youth.
From there, they announced holding a rally at the Eidgah Maidan at 11:00am yesterday and through loudspeakers urged people to join it.
Meanwhile, police and the local administration took initiatives to ease the simmering tension by engaging with religious leaders and local representatives, according to a statement of the police headquarters.
Law enforcers also kept the youth in custody as per demands of local Alems.
Even the representatives of the Alems called off their protest programme upon police’s assurance that necessary legal action would be taken, it said.
But a group of people started gathering at the Eidgah Maidan and a “quarter” set up 17 loudspeakers at different points of the Maidan yesterday morning, mentioned police.
The law enforcers, who had been at the spot since morning, requested the Alems there to clear the area, but the religious leaders said there would be no disorder.
In the meantime, members of a vested quarter entered the Eidgah Maidan and started inciting people. Without any provocation, a group of people then swooped on the officials staying in the room, said police in the statement.
Wielding firearms, members of the group attacked the officials and shot a policeman, leaving him seriously injured. The additional DIG and another police official also got injured said.
Under the circumstances, police fired teargas canisters and shotgun shells upon orders from the UNO and the executive magistrate in self-defence and to save public property.