Muslims and student protesters gathered in Bangladesh’s capital on Friday to condemn the impending visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join up the observance of the country’s 50th anniversary of freedom.
Modi is expected visit Dhaka on March 26, which Bangladesh commemorates as its independence day. It was the day in 1971 when Bangladesh proclaimed itself independent from Pakistan. Facilitated by India, Bangladesh appeared as a new state after nine months of bloodstained war.
After Friday prayers, about 500 Muslims streamed onto the roads beyond the country’s central Baitul Mokarram Mosque in city centre Dhaka during tight security.
The activists held no banners and did not announce if they have any commitment to any political groups. They took their shoes in their hands to demonstrate disregard to Modi. They chanted anti-India and anti-Modi catchphrases, asking him not to come to Dhaka.
Individually, about 200 left-inclined student activists walked through streets on Dhaka University campus where they labeled Modi “the butcher of Gujarat”.
Several protesters held posters stating “Go Back Modi, Go Back India” and “Go Back Killer Modi.”
Modi was chief minister in the western state of Gujarat in 2002 when Hindu-Muslim disturbances left more than 1,000 people deceased. Claims that authorities permitted and even supported the violence have long followed Modi, who has frequently denied having any part. India’s Supreme Court has said it obtained no proof to impeach him.
The marchers decried Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for welcoming Modi, saying the two countries had numerous dubious disputes. The protesters told Modi and his Hindu-nationalist political party persecuted Muslims in India. They also criticised the massacres of Bangladeshis by Indian frontier guards. India declares such fatalities take place when Bangladeshis are engaged in cross-border trafficking and try to cross over the border illicitly.
“India’s assistant government of Hasina has welcomed Modi, we are here to strike counter to that,” Hossain Mohammed Anwar spoke in opposite to the mosque.
Modi’s official visit is the earliest overseas visit since the coronavirus pandemic started. He is booked to travel to a place out of Dhaka that is holy to the Matua society of India’s West Bengal state.
Matua is a Hindu religious cult that is likely to establish the champion of at least seven regions in the Indian state’s assembly polls next month.