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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bangladesh imposes curfew after riots

Source: IANS

Bangladesh imposes curfew after riots

Dhaka, Feb 25 – Authorities in Bangladesh imposed a fresh night-time curfew in its south-eastern Khagrachhari hill district following riots between rival ethnic groups, officials said.

‘Night-time curfew between 2200 hours (2130 IST) Wednesday and 0700 hours (0630 IST) Thursday will remain in force,’ chief administrator of the district Mohammad Abdullah, told DPA.

Troops had remained deployed to prevent any trouble, he added.

Soldiers and police earlier launched a crackdown in the Khagrachhari hill district following riots between ethnic minority people and Bengali settlers.

They arrested 55 people allegedly involved in Tuesday’s violence, which left at least 15 people injured and several homes torched, additional police chief of the district Amir Jafar said.

‘The drive against the criminals is underway, and the ban on all sorts of gatherings remains in force,’ he said.

A total of 94 families were affected by Tuesday’s arson attacks, officials said. Ninety-two homes were completely burnt down while two others were vandalised.

The victims were being forced to sleep in the open and had no food, Chaithoai Marma, a tribesman, said.

The streets were mostly deserted and businesses were shut, said one resident from the district centre, some 275 km south-east of Dhaka.

Khagrachhari is one of the three districts in Chittagong Hill Tracts, home to at least 12 ethnic minority groups. Long-standing animosity exists between indigenous communities and Bengali settlers in the area.

The region was battered by insurgency for over two decades until a peace deal was signed between the government and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti, a political party of the indigenous people, in late 1997.

State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haq Tuku has toured the area and promised relief assistance to the victims, most of whom were said to be from ethnic minorities.

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