Hundreds of members and supporters of an Islamist group, including its influential leader, have been arrested in Bangladesh over the past week, officials said, over deadly protests against the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month for the country’s golden jubilee celebrations of independence.
The protests across several districts in Bangladesh were mostly led by the Hefazat-e-Islam group, whose members accused India’s Hindu nationalist leader of stoking religious polarisation and discriminating against minorities, particularly Muslims, in his country.
At least 13 Hefazat supporters died in police firing during the days-long demonstrations against Modi’s two-day visit as they attacked a police station and other government buildings, and blocked highways elsewhere in the country.
In the capital Dhaka, they clashed with police outside the country’s main Baitul Mukarram National Mosque during the visit.
On Sunday, the group’s joint secretary, Mamunul Haque, was arrested at a madrasa (Islamic school) in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur neighbourhood, Harunur Rashid, a senior Dhaka Metropolitan Police official, said.
Haque, 47, faces charges of instigating violence but police did not provide details on specific cases or whether the charges stem from Modi’s visit.