Two people have died in fresh clashes between protesters and Bangladesh police, raising the death toll from religious hardline protests against the visit of India’s Hindu-nationalist leader to 13, officials said.
The protesters – mostly from the religious hardline group Hefazat-e-Islam – were angry at the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Bangladesh marked 50 years of independence, accusing him of stoking communal violence against Muslims in his country.
Five people died on Friday, and another six the next day, after police shot at demonstrators in several main districts across the Muslim-majority nation of 168 million people.
Two others – a 19-year-old and a 23-year-old – died in the eastern district of Brahmanbaria after officers opened fire in clashes in the rural town of Sarail on Sunday, a police spokesman said.
“They (protesters) stormed a highway police station, torching it and injuring at least 35 policemen. Police opened fire in self-defence,” the spokesman told AFP news agency. He did not say if the pair had been shot dead by police.
He said some 3,000 protesters, mostly Hefazat supporters, had blocked a highway and attacked police with bricks and stones.
Bangladesh’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan called for the protests to be halted.
“Our security forces are observing this with patience,” Khan told reporters on Sunday. “We think if this is not stopped, we’ll take necessary actions.”