Police in Bangladesh have arrested hundreds of activists and leaders of the right-wing Islamist organization Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, who staged protests during a recent visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to the details, the organization had staged violent protests against the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the Muslim-majority country last month.
Police arrested the group’s leader, Mamunul Haq, on charges of inciting violence.
However, the police did not provide details about the case, whether the charges were levelled against them in the context of Narendra Modi’s visit or in some other incident.
Another 298 security supporters and activists were arrested in the eastern rural district of Brahmanbaria, where anti-Modi protests also took place, police said.
“We identified them through video footage and arrested them,” said Muhammad Roshuddin, deputy chief of the Brahmanbaria police.
The organisation’s spokesman, Jakaria Noman Foyezi, said 23 leaders of his organization had been detained by police.
He called the police’s claims against the leaders “false and fabricated”.
It may be recalled that the organization had strongly criticized the invitation of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Modi to attend the country’s 50th Independence Day celebrations on March 26.
He argued that Modi’s Hindu nationalist party was preventing religious polarization in India and discriminating against minorities, especially Muslims.
Modi’s two-day visit was marred by violence and clashes between police and security forces killed at least 17 supporters of Islam.
Most of the protests in several districts of Bangladesh were led by the Islamic Party of Hezb-e-Islami, whose members accused Modi of inciting sectarian violence against Muslims in India.
During Modi’s visit, protesters in Dhaka clashed with police outside the country’s main Baitul Mukarram mosque.
In a speech to Bangladesh’s parliament earlier this month, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned the group and its leaders that they would face consequences if they continued to resort to violence.