On Monday, thousands protested against police all over Bangladesh, the next day of the death of four people when officers fired on a crowd in one of the country’s deadliest religious riots to date. The agitation erupts after a young Hindu man on Bhola island wrote some controversial messages on Facebook that allegedly defamed the Prophet Mohammed. After the incident some 20,000 Muslims called for the execution of the man.
Police said that they opened fire after rocks were thrown at officers. During the riot, four people died, 50 were injured and seven in a critical condition in the hospital. In Bangladesh, there is 90 percent of Muslims of the country’s 168 million people.
A new round of protests have sparked after the deaths on Sunday and on Monday thousands of Muslims across several cities shouted slogans and called for the officers involved to be put on trial.
The 22-year-old madrasa student Mahmudul Hasan told reporters at a rally in the capital Dhaka, “This is not acceptable. Police have illegally and unconstitutionally opened fire on the protesters.”
“It is an extrajudicial killing. We seek justice,” he added. The Hindu man whose Facebook account hosted the original messages and is from Bhola was charged with inciting religious tension.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for peace and said the man’s Facebook account was hacked by a Muslim person and used to “spread lies”. Local police chief Enamul Haque said thousand of protesters taking part in the Bhola protest is being investigated. He further said that a police officer was also “fighting for his life” after he was shot by demonstrators.
No one has been arrested in the case so far, he said. This is not the first time that Facebook posts have sparked large-scale religious violence in the poverty-stricken South Asian country. In 2016, angry Muslims attacked Hindu temples in an eastern tower over a Facebook post that allegedly mocked one of Islam’s holiest sites.