A 28-year-old was killed and at least 50 were injured, including nine policemen, in clashes that broke out between police and certain religious elements in Panchagarh as the latter brought out a rally demanding a halt to the gathering of the Ahmadiyyas, a sect of Islam formed by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
A total of 17 platoons of BGB have been deployed in Panchagarh city area to evade further tension, says a press release from the public relations office of BGB.
The clash ensued on Friday around 2:00 pm at Chowrangi intersection of Panchagarh city and lasted for hours. Police detained several from the scene, but the exact figure could be known immediately.
The slain was identified as Arifur Rahman, a resident of Masjidpara area of Panchagarh municipality. During the clash, Arifur, a manager of a printing press, was returning home after Jummah prayer.
Majedur Rahman Chowdhury, the council of ward-02 of the municipality, confirmed the matter to Prothom Alo.
The relatives of Arifur said a bullet pierced through his head. He was first admitted to Panchagarh sadar hospital. Then he succumbed to his injuries while taking to Rangpur Medical College Hospital for better treatment.
Around 8:00 pm, police superintendent SM Sirajul Huda said they brought the situation under control. They also urged the Ahmadiyyas to halt their congregation to evade clashes. However, they couldn’t confirm the death of anyone in this clash.
According to the eyewitnesses, devotees from different mosques gathered at Chowrangi intersection after Jummah prayer.
Then they brought out a rally and tried to move towards Ahmednagar village, around two kilometres away from the city. At that time police intercepted their movement, leading to a clash between both parties.
The agitated devotees pelted stones at police. In retaliation, police fired tear gas shells to disperse the gatherings.
The mobs took out the products of four shops at city area and set them on fire. Apart from this, they torched an office of traffic police and at least 20 to 25 houses at Ahmednagar village.
It is learnt that the Ahmadiyyas organised a three-day congregation, which began on Friday and continued up to Saturday and Sunday. Earlier on Thursday morning, different religious groups staged protest at Chowrangi intersection blocking the highway in demand of suspending the gathering.