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Highlights:

  • In rural Bangladesh, a protest over police enforcement of Covid19 restrictions turned violent when a mob of demonstrators attacked a police station.
  • In the attack, three people were said to be shot. 
  • The incident occurred after rumors had spread about a man being injured in a police sweep of a market aimed at enforcing health measures to curb the spread of COVID.
  • All domestic services including buses, ferries, trains, and flights have been suspended in Bangladesh, and shops and malls are shut for a week.

In rural Bangladesh, a protest over police enforcement of Covid19 restrictions turned violent when a mob of demonstrators attacked a police station, following which three people were shot, police and a doctor said. 

The incident occurred on late Monday in the central town of Saltha in the Faridpur district whereas per police, rumors had spread about a man being injured in a police sweep of a market aimed at enforcing health measures to curb the spread of COVID.

In anger, thousands of villagers took to the streets and a group hurled bricks at a police station. The crowd also vandalized Government offices in the town, torched an officer’s home and two cars belonging to Government officials, mentioned the police. 

A police spokesperson in the Faridpur district mentioned that the police fired in self-defense after the crowd attacked the police station. The incident was confirmed by a second police official, Inspector Nur-a-Alam Fakir. 

The police did not mention casualty figures, but Abdul Matin, a doctor at the emergency ward of the state-run Faridpur Medical College Hospital, informed three people who were in critical condition after being shot. The doctor said that one of the people was shot in his buttocks, another in his chest and the third person was shot in both legs.

After Covid19 cases in Bangladesh skyrocketed in recent weeks, a seven-day nationwide lockdown was imposed, on Monday. Bangladesh on Sunday recorded 7,087 cases, the highest daily case total since the virus was first detected in Bangladesh in March 2020. 

All domestic services including buses, ferries, trains, and flights have been suspended in Bangladesh, and shops and malls are shut for a week. There is a nighttime curfew imposed. As many as hundreds of shopkeepers protested in the capital Dhaka over the lockdown, saying it would affect their business. 

Two officers said supporters of the hard-line group, Hefazat-e-Islam, joined the attack on the police station at Saltha. Last month, when Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh, tens of thousands of Hefazat supporters took to the streets to protest against his visit which triggered deadly clashes with police.  There was no immediate comment from Hefazat over police claims of their involvement in the incident in Saltha.

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