10 minority Biharis killed in Bangladesh clashes

Clashes in camp for Bihari minority kills 10 people after dispute over use of firecrackers in religious celebrations

10 minority Biharis killed in Bangladesh clashes

World Bulletin/News Desk

At least 10 people from Bangladesh's Bihari minority have been killed in a clash at a "Bihari camp" between camp residents, local Bengalis and police in capital city Dhaka on Saturday morning. 

The clash was caused by a dispute over the use of firecrackers for religious celebrations on the night of Shab-e-Barat -- the mid-point of the Islamic month preceding holy month Ramadan -- which led to attackers setting fire to houses in the camp. 

A police official from the local Mahbubul Haq police station said, on condition of anonymity, that police are trying to contain the situation. 

Although it is legally prohibited to use fire crackers on festive nights, Biharis regularly use fire crackers in their camps as part of centuries-old  traditions. 

Camp residents initially refused to hand over the bodies of the dead but have now released nine bodies to authorities for postmortems which will identify whether they died because of fires or gunfire -- another person died in hospital on Saturday morning.

Dhaka's deputy commissioner Tofazzal Hossain Mia and local MP Shahida Tarekh Dipti met with Bihari leader Abdul Jabbar Khan at the camp and promised legal action against the attackers. 

Biharis, often referred to as "Stranded Pakistanis", are Urdu-speaking Muslims who moved from Indian state Bihar to current-day Bangladesh when it became East Pakistan, after the partition of united India in 1947. They have faced much hostility and mostly lived in refugee camps since Bangladesh's independence in 1971, because of their support for Pakistan during the independence war. 

There are some 200,000 Urdu-speaking residents in Bangladesh, considered to be pro-Pakistani and with a desire to return to Pakistan, who have refused to take them in.

 

Last Mod: 14 Haziran 2014, 16:00
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