Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for the people of Bangladesh to exercise self-restraint after four people were killed by the police when gunshots were fired at thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims protesting a disrespectful image of Prophet Mohammed, AFP reported on Sunday October 20th.
The demonstration of some 20 thousand Muslims took place at a prayer ground in Burhanuddin town on the country's largest island of Bhola. And it predominately called for the hanging of a young Hindu charged with spreading hateful messages over the internet.
According to the police, they fired their guns in self-defence, to protect themselves against the angry crowd who threw rocks, Inspector Salahuddin said later. "At least four people were killed and up to 50 people were injured," he confirmed.
The number of deaths, however, is expected to increase in the next few days, as reports indicating that the injured were taken to a nearby hospital cited that seven people are fighting for their lives.
Prime Minister Hasina later condemned the incidents saying that the Facebook account of the Hindu man was hacked by a Muslim person and used it to "spread lies".
Hasina said in a speech to her political party's members, "We saw rumours are being spread on Facebook to create an environment of anarchy. Who are they? What is their intention?
"I asked our countrymen to have patience. And those who want to fish in troubled waters, we will find them and take action against them."
According to a police statement by Bhola's deputy police chief Sheikh Sabbir, the man came to the police station on Saturday with claims that his Facebook account had been hacked.
The statement said, "We also suspect that his account was hacked and these contents were spread through Facebook messenger." Nonetheless, charges have not been dropped yet.
Bangladesh has been a foreground of ethnic tensions in recent years. In 2016, Muslims expressed their discontent and anger by attacking Hindu temples in similar cases. The country has also witnessed severe attacks on people from religious minorities, secular bloggers, publishers, writers and foreigners, many claimed by militants.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries due to its location and population density. It has high levels of exposure and vulnerability to adverse weather conditions, with thousands of displacements taking place each year as a result of these disasters, often taking the form of life-saving pre-emptive evacuations.