Bangladesh arrests hardline leader after protests

Wednesday 21st April 2021 06:52 EDT

Dhaka: An influential hardline cleric of an Islamist group was arrested in Bangladesh on charges of instigating violent protests in the Muslim-majority country. Police raided an Islamic seminary and arrested Hefazate-Islam joint secretary-general Mamunul Haque, officials said. Deputy commissioner Harun-ur-Rashid said Haque and other Hefazat members had been accused in several cases, including attacks on law enforcement officers.

Officials said Haque and other Hefazat members were also likely to be charged for instigating violence during Indian PM Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh tour last month. Dozens of Hefazat members have been arrested in recent weeks after the group waged anti-government protests.

Five killed in police firing

At least five people were killed and dozens injured in Bangladesh after police opened fire on a crowd of workers protesting to demand unpaid wages and a pay rise at a Chinese-backed power plant, officials and police said. Police opened fire after about 2,000 of the protesters began hurling bricks and stones at officers at the construction site of the coal-fired plant in the southeastern city of Chittagong, local police official Azizul Islam said.

Four protesters died at the scene and another died in hospital, he said. “We’re trying to control the situation,” Islam said, adding that at least six police officers were among those injured. The workers attacked and set fire to several structures at the 1,320-MW power plant, located 265km southeast of Dhaka, he added. Local government official Saiduzzaman Chowdhury said the workers were protesting over unpaid wages.

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