Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned of stern action Monday against those inciting violence, a day after four people were killed in police firing on hundreds of Muslims protesting an alleged blasphemous Facebook post by a Hindu man.
Hundreds of Muslims gathered Sunday morning in southwestern Bhola district, 116 kilometres from Dhaka, for a protest rally under the banner of ‘Muslim Tawhidi Janata’, demanding action against the Hindu man for his alleged social media posts.
As authorities stepped security across Bangladesh, the prime minister warned of stern actions against anyone trying to foment trouble. She said her government had launched an investigation to identify the culprits.
According to initial investigation, Sheikh Hasina said, Hindu youth Biplob Chandra Baidya’s Facebook account was hacked by a Muslim man. She stated that Baidya was being blackmailed to pay 20,000 Bangladeshi Taka (USD 235) or blasphemous content would be posted on his Facebook account.
The police have taken Baidya into protective custody, after he lodged a complaint with them, alleging that his Faceboook account had been hacked.
“Punitive measures must be taken against anyone who wanted to disrespect Prophet Muhammad, but at the same time if anyone tries to frame another person, action will be taken against them as well,” the Hasina asserted. “How can a Muslim write something bad about the Prophet and use it to frame someone else,” she added.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up across Bangladesh following Sunday’s incident.
Bhola’s district police chief Sarkar Mohammad Kaisar said the protest rally took a violent turn and the police had to open fire in ‘self defence’, killing four of the protesters.
This is the second such instance of violence in Bangladesh after the 2016 attack on Hindu temples in eastern Brahmanbaria town by Islamic groups over a Facebook post.
Several Buddhist monasteries were torched in the country in 2012 by Muslim extremists following a Buddhist youth’s alleged defamatory photo post of the Quran.