Four members of the hardline Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam have reportedly been shot dead on March 26 (Friday) in police firing in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The police had opened fire to control Islamists protesting against India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the nation’s capital Dhaka. According to reports, the police had retaliated when the protest turned violent.
Modi is in Bangladesh to attend its Golden Jubilee celebrations of independence and the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s founder and father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
A police official told the media that they had to fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who turned violent. They had entered a police station and vandalised it, told the Dhaka police to the media.
According to reports, at least 1,500 supporters of the Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam attacked the police station in the Hathazari town chanting anti-Modi slogans. “They attacked us all of a sudden,” said Alauddin Talukder, a police inspector told AFP. He added that out of the four dead, three were of them were madrasa students and another a tailor.
For the uninitiated, Hathazari town in Bangladesh is home to one of the country’s largest madrasas and is the headquarters of the hardliner group Hefazat-e-Islam, which was formed in 2010 and is believed to be the country’s largest hardline Islamist outfit. The extremist group has a history of persecuting minority Hindus in Bangladesh.
Only on March 18, we reported that hundreds of supporters of the extremist Islamist group attacked and vandalized about 80 houses of Hindus in the northeastern Sylhet division, Bangladesh. The brutal attack was planned after a young Hindu man criticized Joint-Secretary General Mawlana Mufti Mamunul Haque in a Facebook post.
Many local Hindus had to flee their homes fearing for life which gave the attackers an opportunity to ransack and loot their homes.
According to reports the fanatic mob used loudspeakers of local Mosques to incite violence and gather as many Islamist goons as they could. They incited the local Muslims to kill Hindus and rape Hindu women as a means to take vengeance for the Facebook status that criticized their leader. The followers of Hefazat-e-Islam reportedly entered the village, ransacked and looted many houses.
Similarly, last year, thousands of members of this Islamist organisation had taken out a massive demonstration in Bangladesh against French President Macron as he refused to condemn the caricature of Prophet Mohammad in defence of free speech.
In 2013 police clashed with tens of thousands of Hefazat supporters in Dhaka, leaving nearly 50 people dead.