Modi in Bangladesh: Police fire rubber bullets, tear gas at demonstrations; 18 hospitalized

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Bangladesh police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators, who were protesting against the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday.

An international news agency, AFP, quoted the police saying that the protest got out of hand as demonstrators marched in the capital Dhaka, with many throwing rocks and stones at officers, injuring at least four. “We fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them. There were 200 protesters. We have also arrested 33 people for violence,” police official Syed Nurul Islam told AFP.

A spokesperson for the march said 2,000, mainly student protesters, joined the demonstration. The protesters accused Modi of stoking religious tensions and inciting anti-Muslim violence in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, which left about 1,000 people dead.

“Some 40 protesters were injured, including 18 hospitalized with injuries from police beatings and rubber bullets,” Bin Yamin Molla, a senior official of the Student Rights Council, which organized the protest, told AFP.

At a separate smaller protest elsewhere in Dhaka, hardline protesters slaughtered a cow — sacred to most Hindus — on the street.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Dhaka on Friday on a two-day visit to Bangladesh during which he will attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence, reported Press Trust of India.

This is Modi’s first foreign visit post COVID-19 outbreak in India last year in March. The Prime Minister is set to visit the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and hold talks with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

Modi was received by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport upon his arrival, where he received a guard of honour.

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