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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/27/21

At least 5 killed in anti-Modi protests in Bangladesh

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At least five people were killed and dozens more injured when police attempted to disperse protests in various cities against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh.

Different organizations have been protesting against the Indian prime minister's planned visit for several weeks. Modi arrived in Bangladesh on Friday morning for a two-day visit to join Bangladesh's golden jubilee of independence and the 100th birth anniversary of its founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

"During our peaceful protests against Modi's visit to Bangladesh, police brutally killed five of our supporters, and in response, we have called for a countrywide strike on Sunday," Azizul Haque Islamabadi, joint secretary of the Hefazat-e-Islam, the largest non-political Islamic platform of the country, told Anadolu Agency.

Four protesters were killed in the country's largest port city Chittagong and another was killed in the eastern district of Brahmanbaria, Islamabadi added.

Hefazat spokesman Jakaria Noman Foyezi told AFP some 100,000 supporters of the group staged protests in at least 22 cities and towns across the country. Hefazat is known for its nationwide network and large-scale protests demanding blasphemy laws in Bangladesh, according to Deccan Herald.

Ruhul Amin, the government administrator of Hathazari town, said up to 1,500 supporters of Hefazat attacked a police station chanting anti-Modi slogans. Hathazari is home to one of Bangladesh's largest madrasas and is the headquarters of the Hefazat.

Hefazat accuse Modi and his Hindu-nationalist government of stoking religious tensions and inciting anti-Muslim violence including in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 when 1,000 people died. Modi was Gujarat's chief minister at the time.

"Modi is a killer and extremist ruler whose hand is stained with Muslims' blood. He was personally involved in the attack on the historic Babri mosque," Islamabadi said. "So, it's our moral duty to protest his arrival in our country," he said.

The protests, which were already going on across the country against Modi's scheduled visit, intensified after the prime minister landed Friday in Dhaka to take part in Bangladesh's National Day celebrations.

At the protest outside Baitul Mukarram mosque in Dhaka, Hefazat supporters slammed Modi for "killing Muslims in Gujarat, Kashmir, Delhi and other parts of India". They took their shoes in their hands to show disrespect to the Indian leader.

"His government has passed several laws which make Muslims a second-class citizen in India. We don't want him here in Bangladesh," Maulana Mamunul Haque, secretary-general of Hefazat told Al Jazeera.

"A leader like him should not be allowed to attend the 50th Independence Day event."

India helped the Bangladeshi militarily in 1971 war, which resulted in a strong bond between Dhaka and New Delhi. But ties between the two neighbors have been passing a bad time due to frequent killings of Bangladeshi nationals at the hands of Indian border forces, diversion of upstream water of common rivers, and the recent enactment of a controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which grants citizenship to "persecuted minorities" (read Hindus) from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"Our rulers in Bangladesh call India as our friend but the BSF (India's Border Security Force) is often shooting and killing our people on Bangladesh-India border," Foez Ullah, president of the Bangladesh Students' Union told Al Jazeera.

"Bangladesh has not yet received its fair share of Teesta water. Our rivers, ports, the Sundarbans are all victims of Indian aggression. India is interfering in internal affairs of Bangladesh politics."

Imtiaz Ahmed, professor of international relations at Dhaka University, feels inviting Modi for the celebrations was "not a good choice". "Along with the Golden Jubilee, we are also celebrating the birth centenary of father of the nation. Sheikh Mujib fought for a secular nation whereas Modi is inherently communal. He [Modi] is criticized in his own country for his hardliner Hindu nationalist stance," Ahmed told Al Jazeera.

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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