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Sheikh Hasina meets Hindu leaders after India’s concern over clashes

DHAKA: Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of protesters in Bangladesh’s two main cities on Friday as disturbances lingered on for a third day.

And amid concern over the “disturbing” violence from India, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met leaders of the Hindu community on Thursday and promised stern action.

The protests began on Wednesday after footage emerged of the holy Quran being placed on the knee of a god during celebrations for the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. Hindus make up 10 percent of the population.

At least four people were killed late on Wednesday when police opened fire on a crowd of around 500 people attacking a Hindu temple in Hajiganj, one of several towns hit by the disturbances.

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Two Hindus were also killed and some 150 others were injured across the country, community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik said, with at least 80 makeshift temples attacked.

On Friday up to 2,500 Muslim worshippers gathered outside Baitul Mukarram Masjid, Bangladesh’s largest mosque in central Dhaka, demanding “exemplary punishment” for the “desecration”.

“They brought out a procession and then hurled sandals and bricks at our officers. We fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse them,” Dhaka’s deputy police commissioner said.

He said five officers were injured and three protesters held.

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