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21 October, 2019 12:31:39 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 October, 2019 11:20:35 AM

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4 die in Bhola as violence erupts over FB post

PM urges patience, warns against manipulating incident
UNB, Bhola
4 die in Bhola as violence erupts over FB post
Local people chant slogan against a man, allegedly behind a Facebook post hurting religious sentiments, at Bhola's Borhanuddin upazila yesterday, minutes before a clash with law enforcers that left four killed and 200 injured. UNB Photo

At least four people were killed and two hundred injured in a clash between police and agitated locals demonstrating in Borhanuddin upazila of Bhola yesterday demanding punishment of a youth for making a Facebook post allegedly hurting religious sentiments. Four local people identified as Mizan, Mahfuz Patwari, Shaheen and Mahbub Patwari were killed, said Dr Abul Kalam Azad, medical officer of Bhola Sadar Hospital.

Thirty people who suffered bullet wounds during the clash were admitted to Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital, said Dr Abul Hasnat Russell at the hospital’s emergency department.

All of them were admitted to the hospital in between 1:30 pm and 5pm, he added. Four platoons of BGB, including one flown in by helicopters, and one platoon of Coast Guard have been deployed in Borhanuddin and adjacent areas to maintain law and order, said officials. A three member probe body has been formed to investigate the incident, said Barishal divisional commissioner. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged all to have patience and warned that those trying to take advantage of the Bhola incident will be punished. "I urge the people of the country to have patience. Those who want to fish in the troubled waters manipulating this incident will be found out and appropriate measures will be taken against them," she said at a Juba League meeting in Dhaka.

Talking to local journalists, Sarkar Mohammad Kaisar, Superintendent of Bhola Police, said local people turned furious over the offensive remarks about Prophet Muhammad allegedly from the Facebook ID of a local resident named Biplab Chandra Shuvo, which was reportedly hacked.

“The clash occurred following the hacking of a Facebook ID on October 18. We detained all those involved in the ID hacking. They’re now in custody. We sat in a meeting with local influential people, public representatives, imams and Alem who had assured us that they wouldn’t hold their scheduled protest programme today (Sunday),” he said. But, today they started taking preparations to hold the programme which prompted police to appear at the scene, the SP said.

“When we were leaving the place after the rally, some people started throwing brick chips at us forcing us to take shelter in an adjoining building and fire shots,” the SP said.

Three people were killed and a policeman suffered bullet wounds during the clash, he said. Md Enamul Haque, officer-in-charge of

Borhanuddin Police Station, said the accused man Biplob came to the police station on Saturday to file a general diary claiming that his Facebook account was hacked.

 “Biplob also said someone demanded extortion from him over mobile phone,” he said. Visiting the spot, Ali Azam Muku MP, said “The families of the victims will be provided financial aid.”

Shafiqur Rahman, deputy inspector general (DIG), Barishal at a press briefing yesterday evening said “Outsiders intentionally caused this incident.”

 A policeman too was shot and is receiving treatment at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka, the DIG further said.

“Who fired the shot that injured the policeman will be known after investigation,” he said. There have been no reports as yet to indicate the public were armed.  

Barishal Divisional Commissioner Md Yamin Chowdhury said “A 3-member probe committee was formed over the incident.”

“A platoon of BGB troops was sent to the spot by helicopter while another three platoons were on their way by road to tackle the situation,” said Md Shariful Islam, public relations officer at the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters.

That would be in addition to the platoon dispatched by the Coast Guard already deployed at the spot, said Lt. Hayat-Ibne-Siddique, media officer at Coast Guard headquarters.

The Prime Minister, at her introductory speech at a meeting with the central leaders of Juba League at her official residence Ganabhaban said a section of people are deliberately doing such heinous acts to create instability.

Sheikh Hasina said an unwanted incident took place in Bhola over the matter that led to the loss of lives.

“Whenever the country runs properly, a section of people try to create an anarchic situation,” she said. She sought cooperation from people in preventing this section of people from creating chaos in the country.”I urge all to have patience.”

She said punitive measures must be taken against anyone who wanted to disrespect Prophet Muhammad (SM). “At the same time, if anyone tries to frame another person, measurers will also be taken against them,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the Facebook account of a minority youth was hacked by another youth. That person over phone demanded Tk 20,000 for the Facebook account, otherwise he would write such things which will be dangerous for that youth. Getting the phone call, the youth went to the police station to lodge a general diary. Police arrested that youth and later also arrested the person who hacked the Facebook account, Hasina added.

“We’ve communicated with the Facebook authorities for further information. We’ll be able to collect all the related information,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Government has requested Facebook authority to provide details about the Facebook profile from where a post by a ‘Hindu’ defaming Prophet Muhammad (PBH), Post and Telecommunication Minister Mostafa Jabbar told The Independent.

“It usually takes two days to get back answer against queries made to Facebook. We, however, are waiting to verify the post which started this clash,” he said over telephone yesterday.

Jabbar said there is ‘a vested quarter’ which makes concerted effort to create communal violence in otherwise religiously harmonious country like Bangladesh.

“We want to identify and take stern actions against that group,” Minister Jabbar said.

The Minister also said the Bangladesh government had asked Facebook whether they would allow the incorporation of national identity card against opening of a Facebook account.

“We haven’t got any reply on that but we are seriously thinking about it. Facebook posts have created communal violence early in Nasirnagar and Ramu,” he said.

“We don’t want the repetition of such incident again,” he added.


IK/BK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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