Hundreds of members of Islamic organizations torched houses and vandalized shops in protest against an event announced by the Ahmadiyya community in the Panchagarh district of northern Bangladesh.
The agitators blocked the Dhaka-Panchgarh highway and attacked Ahmadiyya people as well as the police.
Police had beefed up security in the area in the wake of agitators calling for a protest after the Ahmadiyya community announced a three-day ‘Jalsa Salana’ of the minority Muslim community. Militant leaders and members of various Islamic organizations led the protest but were stopped by the police in front of the Jama Masjid along the highway at Chowringhee Junction in the district.
The militants set ablaze a traffic police van at Dhakkamara in Panchagarh. Police and border guard Bangladesh vehicles were also damaged in the attacks by the Islamists. Over 100 homes and shops belonging to members of the Ahmadiyya community were torched and vandalized during the attack. Panchgarh Sadar police station chief Abdul Latif Miya told IANS that the attack began when the Islamists started throwing bricks and stones at the law enforcers.
Shopkeepers across the city downed their shutters as tension escalated. The militants also burnt tires on some roads. North District Superintendent of Police SM Sirajul Hooda said that all efforts were being made to bring the situation under control.