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Dhaka Tribune

30 detained after devotees clash with police in Chittagong

A scuffle soon broke out after the mosque authorities refused to open the gates

Update : 15 Apr 2021, 01:05 PM

At least 30 people were detained following clashes between police and Muslim devotees over offering of Taraweeh prayers at a mosque in Chittagong city on Wednesday amid the nationwide lockdown, police said.

Rajesh Barua, officer-in-charge of Chandgaon Police Station, said hundreds of Muslim devotees gathered in front of Block-B of Jame-e-Mosque's in Chandgaon to offer Taraweeh prayers defying the government’s lockdown restrictions.

A scuffle soon broke out after the mosque authorities refused to open the gates. Police were informed and a team from the local police station rushed to the spot.

"But the devotees attacked police and hurled brick chips targeting the police van, forcing the team to retaliate. Two-three cops sustained injuries in the attack," said the OC.

Police subsequently detained some 30 attackers. 

"While 25 of them were released later in the day, five still remain in our custody," the OC said.

Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim devotees staged a demonstration in front of the locked gates of the mosque.

A video footage of the protest went viral on social media. During the demonstration, a young man broke the glass panes of the mosque and entered inside. Later, he opened the gate for those waiting outside.

Nizam Uddin, finance secretary of the Mosque managing committee, said: “We have asked all the Imams of the mosques to offer prayers at their respective homes following the directives of the government during the ongoing lockdown."

According to the government directives, a maximum of 20 people – including the imam, khatib, muezzin, hafez, khadem – can attend Taraweeh prayers at each mosque during Ramadan amid a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases.

The restrictions will be in place from April 14 until further notice, the Ministry of Religious Affairs said in a new set of directives issued on Monday.

No more than 20 worshippers will be able to join daily prayers at mosques. Also, the devotees will have to follow health guidelines and ensure physical distancing while offering Friday prayers at mosques, the ministry said.

Local administrations, law enforcement agencies, Islamic Foundation officials and the mosque management committees have been asked to implement the directives.

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