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3 shot, 7 injured, protesting dismissal of Noakhali Khatib

  • Published at 08:38 pm May 5th, 2019
Noakhali district map
Map of Noakhali

He was dismissed for his controversial discussion concerning Pohela Boishakh

At least 3 were shot and 7 others were injured in clashes during a protest against the dismissal of a Khatib for lecturing against Pohela Boishakh.

The incident took place in Begumganj of Noakhali on Friday. 

People gathered before and after Jumma prayers, to protest the dismissal of Khatib Mufti Omar Faruq, of Ekalashpur Central Jam-e Mosque in Begumganj of Noakhali. As the situation got worse, police reached the spot and shot a few bullet rounds. This left at least 3 shot and injured, and 7 others injured in clashes.  

The injured were admitted to Noakhali General Hospital. Three of them were identified as: Mohammad Ali (20), son of Shafiqul Alam of Charfazal village in Ramgati upazila of Laxmipur district, Apon (20) son of Alamgir Hossain of Eklashpur, and Mahfuzur Rahman (32), son of Atiq Ullah. The rest are yet to be identified.  

According to local sources, during the Jumma sermon on 12 April (before Pohela Boishakh), Imam of Ekalashpur Bazar Jam-e Mosque, Maulana Omar Faruq said it is Haram (prohibited) to observe Pahela Boishakh and Mongol Shobha Jatra. On hearing this, the president of the Mosque Committee, industrialist Jamal Uddin and others protested it. Later, six members of the Mosque Committee of 19 members settled on the dismissal of Imam Omar Faruq. 

On Friday 3rd May, before and after Jumma prayers, worshippers gathered and protested the incident. During the protest they demanded the cancellation of the committee. Later, police reached the spot to control the situation. 

Vice-president of the mosque committee and UP Chairman, Khalilur Rahman, said: “After the controversial discussions on Pohela Boishakh, Jamal Uddin, president of the mosque committee, and others, had a meeting and decided to dismiss Imam Faruq from his services as Khatib. This created a tension amongst the worshippers.”

“Additional Superintendent of Police of Begumganj circle, Shahjahan Sheikh, and UNO (Acting) Mostafa Jabed Kawsar, visited the spot on Friday 3rd May, and ordered the announcement of a new convening committee for the mosque within the next seven days,” he added.

Additional Superintendent of Police of Begumganj circle, Shahjahan Sheikh, said: “Police fired a few rounds of bullets in the air to bring the situation under control. Later, additional police were deployed at the scene.” 

 Khatib Mufti Omar Faruq could not be reached over the phone for his comment on the incident.