Dhaka: Hundreds of members Islamist organisations carried out arson attacks on homes and vandalised shops during protests against an event announced by the Ahmadiyya community in Panchagarh district in northern Bangladesh.
The agitators blocked the Dhaka-Panchagarh highway and attacked Ahmadiya people as well as the police. Several people, including three policemen, were injured in the attacks.
According to the latest update, at least two persons died and 100 others were left injured in the attack led by the angry mob in Panchagarh district in northern Bangladesh.
Of the 100 persons injured included nine policemen and two journalists. The deceased have been identified as Zahid Hasan (23) and Arifur Rahman (28).
The police had beefed up security in the area in the wake of the protest call given by the agitators after the Ahmadiyya community announced a three-day 'Jalsa Salana'.
Members of Ahmadiyya community call them "Muslims". However, there is unanimity among the Muslim groups that Ahmadiyya are out of the Islamic fold, and they cannot identify themselves as Muslims.
Militant leaders and members of various Islamist organisations led the protest but were stopped by the police in front of the Jama Masjid along the highway at the Chowrangi junction of the district.
The militants torched a traffic police box at Dhakkamara in Panchagarh. Police and Border Guard Bangladesh vehicles were also damaged in the attacks by the Islamists.
More than 100 houses and shops belonging to the Ahmadiyya community members were torched and vandalised during the attack.
Abdul Latif Mia, chief of Panchagarh Sadar police station, told IANS that the attack began after the Islamists started throwing brickbats at the law enforcers.
As tension mounted, shop owners pulled down their shutters across the town. The militants also burnt tyres on some roads.
S.M. Sirajul Huda, Superintendent of Police in the northern district, said the law enforcers were trying their best to bring the situation under control.
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