Blasphemy: 4 shot dead in Bangladesh protest over bloggers

Published: February 24, 2013
Bangladeshi police personnel stand guard during a nationwide strike in Dhaka on February 24, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Bangladeshi police personnel stand guard during a nationwide strike in Dhaka on February 24, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA: Protesters demanding the execution of bloggers they accuse of blasphemy clashed with police in Bangladesh for a third straight day Sunday, and at least four protesters were killed when police opened fire.

Up to 3,000 protesters, including students from religious schools known as madrassas and supporters of the main opposition party, barricaded a highway at Singair in the central district of Manikganj, police said.

“They attacked us with machetes, sticks, bricks and firearms from three sides when we tried to clear the barricade. We fired back in self-defence,” Mizanur Rahman, deputy police chief of Manikganj, told AFP, adding at least 40 people were injured including policemen.

“The imam of the local mosque used a loudspeaker to rally the protesters. They were shouting slogans for the execution of the bloggers, accusing them of being non-believers and atheists,” Rahman said.

Khalilur Rahman, residential medical officer of Singair Hospital, said three young people died of bullet wounds there. A fourth person who was shot died after he was transferred to a Dhaka clinic, police said.

Among the injured, 18 suffered bullet wounds, the medical officer said.

Fifteen people were injured, three by bullets, in another clash between police, ruling party supporters and Islamists in the southeastern resort district of Cox’s Bazaar, said private television Maasranga.

The violence broke out as 12 small Islamic parties, backed by the largest Islamic group Jamaat-e-Islami and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, called a nationwide strike in protest at Friday’s police action against protesters.

Four people were killed, three in police shooting, and about 200 injured during Friday’s protests by tens of thousands of protesters demanding the hanging of bloggers whom they say blasphemed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Tensions have arisen over allegedly anti-Islamic blog posts by Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death last week near his home in Dhaka.

In recent weeks Haider and fellow bloggers had launched massive protests demanding a ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami, and the execution of its leaders for alleged war crimes in the 1971 independence struggle against Pakistan.

Since Haider’s death, Bangladeshi social media has been flooded with his alleged blog posts and with those by other bloggers mocking Islam, triggering protests by a number of Islamic groups and clerics.

The government has warned of tough steps against those who incite social tension, and urged newspapers and blogs not to publish defamatory writings against the Prophet Mohammed (Pbuh).

It has cracked down on anti-Islam blogs and also given police protection to some bloggers in the wake of Haider’s murder.

Police have yet to comment on a motive for Haider’s killing. But his brother said Haider was targeted by Jamaat’s student wing for his online activities.

The killing of Haider was the second attack in Dhaka in less than a month against a blogger critical of Islam and its groups.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Feb 24, 2013 - 6:56PM

    One should understand how timid and backward we are. Bengalis are giving it to them to save their nation from a desert culture. And we lay prostrate in abject surrender to bearded zealots.


  • AnisAqeel
    Feb 24, 2013 - 7:25PM

    Pakistan should learn a lesson from Bangladesh for not being bullied from religious fanatics who opposed in creation of Pakistan then murderously and violently opposed Bangladesh while defacing the entire teachings of Islam, they are real blasphemous people and should be dealt evenhandedly.


  • Truth detector
    Feb 24, 2013 - 8:01PM

    No comments from Indian/ Bengalis who give Pakistan lesson on tolerance & liberal democracy,


  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 24, 2013 - 8:26PM

    Jamaat-e-Islam should be banned from all countries where they are present : Inida, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

    They are basically a terrorist organization without guns and bombs.

    @Mushtaq Ahmed

    “Bengalis are giving it to them to save their nation from a desert culture. And we lay prostrate in abject surrender to bearded zealots.”

    Well, when Khalida Zia comes back to power, Bangladesh looks like Pakistan. Only Sheikh Hasina tries to maintain secular democracy in the country/


  • AnisAqeel
    Feb 24, 2013 - 8:36PM

    Using the Prophet’s (S.A.W.) name for their ugly designs is a very effective tool and very often used by today’s Mullahs, that by itself is blasphemous.


  • Milestogo
    Feb 24, 2013 - 9:07PM

    Blasphemy is a serious crime. One can not blame ilmudin and quadri for consequences.


  • Khurram
    Feb 24, 2013 - 10:01PM

    @Musthaq Ahmed. The conspicuous differences between Bengalis and Us are the Identity Crisis and Misplaced Priorities. The Bengalis know who they are and what they want to establish as a nation where as we Wannabe Arabs clearly lack both of these.


  • Syed Naved
    Feb 24, 2013 - 11:44PM

    Today In Manikganj In Total 5 People Meet Death Including A Women & Aleem & Imam Of Mosques . During Hartal ( strike ) When Police Starts Firing Bullets These Innocent People Get Death , almost 50 innocent civilians get serious injury .

    In it’s protest today Manik Ganj Zilla will observe Hartal ( Dawn to Dask ) and the entire nation will observe feast and do Nafal salat and will pray for the dead. Bangladesh Nationalist Party give it’s full support to Islamic parties .

    At Bogura- As soon as early police saw the picketers , they start firing bullets. There 20 peple
    got bullet injury .


  • abhi
    Feb 25, 2013 - 12:04AM

    so all these islamic parties can organize only 3000 people! Thoough they have less number they have more nuisance value. It is time their bluff should be called off.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 25, 2013 - 2:10AM

    Why is Islam so afraid of atheists ?


  • gp65
    Feb 25, 2013 - 2:20AM

    @Truth detector: “No comments from Indian/ Bengalis who give Pakistan lesson on tolerance & liberal democracy,”

    Why are you dragging India in this?


  • Syed Naved
    Feb 25, 2013 - 3:37AM

    what !! Entire nation is now against those bloggers , so they organize entire nations muslim. Now we all the muslim one side & the Shahbagi’s are on the other side


  • Syed Naved
    Feb 25, 2013 - 3:42AM

    @Yoghurt lover:
    Realy ? So you wanna say ” Dictatorship ” is ” Democracy ” . Pakistan & BD both are Islamic nation. So this is very obvious , that ppl’ll protest if they see one is insulting their religion.

    And moreover, if you guys are so right , than why kolkata banned Hasina,her cabinet & families entrance ?


  • Yoghurt lover
    Feb 25, 2013 - 6:31AM

    I think Pakistanis should protest against these bloggers. Probably burn a few cars also!


  • Salman
    Feb 25, 2013 - 6:33AM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    nice shouldnt need to.


  • Imran
    Feb 25, 2013 - 8:00AM

    Pakistan must do exactly the same to such fanatics. Entire country and peaceful citizens could not be allowed to be put under the hostage of bearded criminals and butchers. Well done! Bangladesh government.


  • Khurram
    Feb 25, 2013 - 8:13AM

    @syed naved I agree with you that both Pakistan and Bangladesh are Islamic nations where is Bangladesh is a progressive secular democratic country at peace with itself and her neighbours and with Pakistan exactly the opposite is true a country at war with itself and with her whole neighbourhood almost at the verge of being declared a failed state there is a not social, economic and political problem which we do not have. We as a nation lack the internal discipline and determination to address the pressing issues and challenges.


  • jugno
    Feb 25, 2013 - 10:22AM

    @Yoghurt lover:
    I agree. JI has a huge role in promoting violence in educational institutions and decline of education standard in at least pakistan. They should be banned.


  • Ansari
    Feb 25, 2013 - 10:27AM

    So now all secular extremists don’t even dare to raise eye-brow about state terrorism including the way police is treating protestors. O my dear secular extremists, Will you ever speak of sense !!Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 25, 2013 - 11:02AM

    I am surprised at the stupidity of demanding a ban on the Jamaat anywhere in the World!
    It is the most educated and modern Islamic group with MASSIVE welfare and charity wings. It is the only political group in Pakistan practising true democracy having been led by 4 different presidents over its past 5-6 decades of existance and each of these presidents was from a different ethnic background. Such true democratic value are non-existant in Pakistan.

    Moreover, Jamaat’s welfare wing ‘Alkhidmat’ has been recognized for its charity work during floods and earthquakes when the liberals of this country were enjoying their morning cup of coffee watching news about the national disaster on their TV.


  • Mj
    Feb 25, 2013 - 4:43PM


    JI feeds you with one hand abd stabs you with the other.


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