At Least 10 Killed in Protests Towards Modi’s Go to to Bangladesh

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DHAKA, Bangladesh — At the very least 10 folks have been killed and dozens injured in protests towards a go to by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to Bangladesh as a part of celebrations for the nation’s fiftieth anniversary.

Clashes between protesters and safety forces started Friday after weekly prayers in three cities — Dhaka, the capital; Brahammanbaria, close to the Indian border; and the coastal metropolis of Chattogram.

An Islamist group known as Hefazat-e-Islam led avenue processions denouncing Mr. Modi. On Friday, 4 folks have been killed in Chattogram and one was killed in Brahammanbaria. In Dhaka, the place lots of of protesters gathered exterior the Baitul Mokarram mosque, clashes started after one group of protesters started waving their footwear in an indication of contempt for Mr. Modi, in keeping with native tv information studies.

One channel reported that no less than 40 folks had been injured within the clashes, together with some journalists.

Violence continued into Saturday afternoon in Brahammanbaria, leading to 5 extra deaths, in keeping with Bangladeshi media. When the protest march turned violent, safety forces opened hearth to disperse the crowds, a number of newspapers reported.

A full accounting of the deaths had not been made public by Saturday night, and police officers reached by The New York Occasions declined to remark.

The Islamist group has known as for a nationwide shutdown on Sunday to protest the killings. Web companies have been slower than typical on Saturday, with officers apparently making an attempt to disrupt plans for the shutdown.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s first chief, lauded Mr. Modi as a key ally in her decades-long mission to ship tens of millions out of poverty.

“If we transfer ahead hand in hand, the event of our folks is inevitable,” she mentioned.

However a few of Mr. Modi’s insurance policies — significantly legal guidelines that make it simpler to expel Bangladeshi and Muslim migrants from India — may make such a partnership harder.

At a press briefing Saturday, Mamunul Haque, a senior chief for Hefajat-e-Islami, mentioned {that a} shutdown had been known as to protest the deaths of these demonstrating towards Mr. Modi’s go to to Bangladesh.

“We wish to make this clear,” Mr. Mamunul mentioned, “our motion isn’t towards the federal government, our motion is towards atheists and apostates.”

Conservative Islamic views have been gaining floor in Bangladesh, a secular democracy that’s greater than 90 p.c Muslim. Anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment has been used to problem Ms. Hasina’s occasion, the Awami League, because the nation was based after a bloody warfare for independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Beneath Ms. Hasina, who has been in energy on and off since 1996, and is serving a fourth consecutive time period, Bangladesh has come to be seen as considerably of an financial miracle, usually posting 8 p.c annual progress. Its ready-made garment trade is taken into account second solely to China’s. And the nation of 160 million has risen steadily up the United Nations Human Improvement Index.

Bangladesh’s success story, nonetheless, has a darkish underbelly: accusations of deep corruption and the stifling of dissent within the more and more authoritarian authorities of a rustic that has been susceptible to coups and political violence.

Whereas Mr. Modi’s journey is especially centered on Bangladesh’s anniversary celebrations, the go to additionally has political implications in India, the place voting started Saturday in a number of state-level elections, together with West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh.

Mr. Modi visited a Hindu temple exterior Dhaka that’s sacred to the Matua neighborhood in West Bengal, hoping to attract crucial votes in that state.

In a series of tweets late Saturday after returning to New Delhi, Mr. Modi mentioned he and Ms. Hasina had mentioned tips on how to deepen their relationship.

“I wish to thank the folks of Bangladesh for his or her affection throughout my go to,” Mr. Modi wrote. “I’m positive this go to will result in additional strengthening of bilateral ties between our nations.”

Mr. Modi made no point out of the violence and deaths.

Julfikar Ali Manik reported from Dhaka and Emily Schmall reported from New Delhi.

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