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B'desh: 4 killed as police fires at protestors over defamatory FB post

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Dhaka | October 21, 2019 1:41:32 AM IST
At least four people were killed after the police here on Sunday opened fire to disperse the crowd of protestors gathered to demonstrate against a blasphemous Facebook post that allegedly defamed the Prophet Muhammad.

The incident took place at a prayer ground in the town of Borhanuddin on the country's largest island of Bhola earlier today and wounded 50 others, Dhaka Tribune reported.

The protestors called for the execution of a young Hindu man whose message on social media hurt their religious sentiments and incited religious tension.

During the procession, police fired rubber bullets to disperse crowd when the demonstrations turned violent and protestors started pelting stones at the officers, according to Superintendent of Police Sarker Md Kayser.

Witnesses were quoted as saying that madrasa student Mahbub, 14, college student Shahin, 18, died on the spot in the clash while locals Mahfuj, 45, and Mizanur, 50, died on the way to Bhola Sadar Hospital.

Bhola Civil Surgeon Rathindranath Roy confirmed the deaths to Dhaka Tribune.

Meanwhile, the suspect has denied any wrongdoing on his part and rather insisted that his account was hacked. The police investigated those claims, detaining three people for allegedly meddling with the young man's social media page, as per reports by Russia Today.

Mob attacks over online posts perceived to be blasphemous have emerged as a major headache for security forces in Bangladesh, where Muslims make up some 90 per cent of the country's 168 million people.

In 2016, another Facebook post with mockery of Islam's holiest sites saw angry crowds attacking Hindu temples in east Bangladesh.

A few years before that, a defamatory photo of the Quran resulted in Buddhist monasteries, shops and homes being set on fire.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 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 and appropriate measures will be taken against them," the prime minister was quoted as saying at a meeting with the members of her party at her residence.

The youth, as well as the person who had hacked the social media account of the former, are under detention. (ANI)

 
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