Protesters clash with police in Dhaka over alleged sacrilege

Hundreds of protesters have clashed with police at Kakrail after they brought out a procession from the Baitul Mukarram mosque to protest the alleged “dishonouring” of the Quran in Cumilla.

Protesters under the banner of ‘Malibagh Muslim Samaj’ took out the procession following the Jummah prayers on Friday.

A clash with police took place at the Nightingale intersection in Kakrail, when police prevented the protesters.

“We allowed the procession to reach the Nightingale intersection, but the protesters created chaos there; then the police fired teargas shells to bring the situation under control,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammad Abdul Ahad.

As the procession split up at the Nightingale intersection, the protesters swooped into alleys and started throwing brickbats at the police.

The police then retaliated by firing tear gas shells and shotgun bullets to disperse them. One of the protesters was apprehended by the police after an hour-long chase across alleys.

The law enforcers barred traffic in the area while scanning the streets with APCs and water cannons.

Traffic was halted for more than half an hour in Gulistan and Paltan, before returning to normal around 3 pm.

However, some people were seen taking out a procession from the alley at the north gate of the Baitul Mukarram after 3 pm.

On Wednesday, communal tension flared in Cumilla and led to attacks on Hindu temples over the alleged dishonouring of the Quran amid the Durga Puja celebrations.

Following the incident, Hindu temples and puja venues in parts of the country were vandalised.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said a “conspiracy” was at play in the temple attacks in Cumilla.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed exemplary punishment for those who used religion to unleash violence.