Five policemen were injured when protesting mullahs clashed with the law enforcers in the capital yesterday.
Police detained three protesters during the clashes. They said all three of them held leading positions in an organisation, but they did not mention in which organisation they had leading roles. Later, detectives from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested two more protesters.
In Chattogram also, a clash ensued when police barred a group of people from breaking into the JM Sen Hall puja mandap at Anderkilla.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members were deployed in Dhaka and Sylhet metropolitan cities and 35 districts across the country yesterday to ensure uninterrupted puja celebrations.
Hundreds of Muslim devotees coming out of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque after Friday prayers chanted slogans calling for jihad and protested against the reported desecration of the Holy Quran in Cumilla.
They took out a procession under the banner of "Malibagh Muslim Jubo Samaj" and marched through the Paltan intersection. Reaching the Nightingale intersection, they were halted by police barricades. When the protesters tried to march ahead by breaking through the barricade, police stopped them. At the time, the mullahs began hurling brick chips and shoes at the policemen.
"Several people, including a photojournalist, were seen injured in the brick attack. Five policemen were also injured in the clashes."
The injured police officers were Assistant Commissioner of Police (Ramna zone) Md Bayzidur Rahman, Sub-Inspector Salman, Sub-Inspector Mohaimen and two other assistant sub-inspectors whose names could not be known.
After dispersing the protesters, police drove one group of protesters towards Kakrail, another to Naya Paltan, and turned another group again towards the Purana Paltan area. But later all the protesters gathered again at the Nightingale intersection.
During the clashes, traffic movement in the area came to a stop for about an hour and a half. After 2:15pm, Rapid Action Battalion personnel also appeared at the spot and tried to bring the situation under control.
Immersion of idols interrupted in Chattogram
The immersion of idols in observance of Bijoya Dashami in Chattogram was halted for four hours following an attack on the JM Sen Hall Puja mandap on Friday.
Following the attack, the Chattogram Metropolitan Puja Celebration Committee initially decided to suspend the immersion of idols. Later, it resumed the celebrations when the local administration assured it of security, said Ashish Kumar Bhattacharjee, president of the committee.
However, the committee was yet to take any decision on the hartal that was announced in protest over the attack.
Earlier, following Friday prayers, a group of people demonstrated in front of Shai Jame Mosque located at Anderkilla. Some of them later moved towards JM Sen Hall in an attempt to break in at the mandap there.
Police, however, intercepted the group and fired 50 rounds of blank bullets, leading to clashes that left at least 20 people injured, including five policemen.
The law enforcers also arrested 50 people in connection with the clashes, Kotwali Thana Officer-in-Charge Nezam Uddin told The Business Standard.
BGB deployed in 35 districts, two metropolitan cities
BGB Director (Operations) Lt Col Faizur Rahman told The Business Standard that border guards were deployed in 22 districts on Wednesday, but on Friday the deployment was extended to 35 districts.
Asked how many BGB members were deployed in each district, Faizur Rahman said, "The BGB men were deployed as per need in a particular area. In some districts several platoons have been on patrol."
Meanwhile, sources at Police Headquarters said vigilance had been maintained in every puja mandap since Thursday night as yesterday was the time for Friday prayers and immersion of idols. At the same time, a large number of police personnel were deployed in each district for security before and after Friday prayers and during the immersion of idols to prevent any untoward incidents.