Protesters demonstrated against a three-day jalsa organised by the community in Bangladesh’s Panchagarh district and clashed with the police after Friday prayers.
Dhaka,UPDATED: Mar 3, 2023
Protesters set fire to tyres and homes of the Ahmadiya community
By Sahidul Hasan Khokon: In Bangladesh’s northern district of Panchagarh, the Ahmadiyya community’s annual jalsa turned into a massive protest site with incidents of vandalism and arson, sparking demonstrations by the local Sunni Muslim community. The jalsa was supposed to be a three-day event and today was the first day.
The Sadar police station’s office-in-charge, Abdul Latif Miah, said that the clashes began when the protesters came to the Chowrangi junction after Friday prayers.
“I heard about vandalism and arson in Ahmednagar. Fire services and civil defense personnel were rushed to the spot and they brought the fire under control,” Latif Miah said.
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District Superintendent of Police, SM Sirajul Huda, told reporters that as of this evening, the situation was normal in the city and that the police are trying to control the situation.
Meanwhile, 17 platoons of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed in the area along with additional police personnel.
According to the police and the locals, several organizations protested in the town on Thursday, demanding the jalsa be cancelled. They blocked the roads and stopped traffic in the area.
Following the Friday prayers today, people from different mosques gathered at the Chowrangi intersection in small groups and took out a joint procession.
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Security was beefed up ahead of this march and police personnel were deployed to prevent any kind of law and order situation.
However, the police stopped the procession as the protesters clashed with them, Latif Miah said.
Several protesters and policemen were injured in the clashes, the police said. “The protestors went to the city’s Takkamara area and set fire to the traffic police office,” they said.
“The police and BGB vehicles were also damaged in the attack. The police fired a few tear gas shells to bring the situation under control,” they added.
Eyewitnesses said that shops belonging to the Ahmadiyya community were vandalized at a market in the Panchagarh Bazar area. Later, goods were taken out of these shops and burnt on the streets.
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Several shops in the city remained shut after panic spread. People’s movement in the city also reduced. The protesters set fire to tires on different roads and burnt down several houses in Ahmadiya Nagar on the outskirts of the city in the afternoon.
Senior police officers, including the Superintendent of Police, rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.
Abdul Rahim, a local journalist, said that many people from the Ahmadiyya community live in the area and over 10 houses were vandalized and set afire. Many people have fled and taken shelter elsewhere with their families, Rahim said.
ONE KILLED, 50 INJURED
One man, identified as Arifur Rahman (28), was killed in the clashes between the police and the protesters. Rahman is a resident of the Masjidpara area of Panchagarh municipality. He was the manager of a printing press in the city. His family claimed that he was returning home after offering prayers when he was caught in the crosshair.
At least 50 people, including nine policemen, were injured. The police have made several arrests in the case.
Categories: Ahmadis, Ahmadiyyat: True Islam, Asia, Bangla, Bangladesh
Ahmad Tabshir Choudhury, Bangladesh 🇧🇩
It is very disturbing that a group of so called “Islamist” is trying to disrupt the 3 days peaceful annual convention (Jalsa Salana) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Bangladesh scheduled from 3rd March at Ahmadnagar, Panchagarh. They have vandalised some of the Ahmadiyya houses.
Why are they protesting? If they have a stand (belief), why not use more civilized ways of sorting out differences than behaving in a violent manner that bespeaks of these people’s extreme IGNORANCE of Islam and anything else?