One killed as Bangladesh Covid-19 lockdown turns violent

Dhaka, Apr 6 (efe-epa).- One person was killed after police opened fire to disperse a violent mob that attacked a police station in protest against the enforcement of a Covid-19 lockdown in central Bangladesh, officials said Tuesday.

The incident took place Monday night when protesters set fire to several government offices at the Saltha area of central Faridpur district on the first day of a week-long lockdown enforced by the authorities.

Faridpur additional police commissioner Jamal Pasha told EFE an assistant commissioner went to a local market to monitor if people followed the restrictions.

Two shopkeepers refused to close their shops, triggering an argument, which prompted police to intervene, he said.

“The local people got organized and swooped on police after rumors that a man was beaten up. Several thousand people then attacked the sub-district headquarters office, set fire to land office,” said Pasha.

“They broke open the gate and tried to enter the police station and then police fired. We got the news of one death, but they (the public) did not hand over the body to police and buried it without a post-mortem,” he added.

Pasha said two people suffered injuries during the clashes but could not confirm if they were bullet wounds.

Seven to eight police members also received minor injuries during the incident, he said.

Bangladeshi authorities on Sunday formally announced a one-week lockdown starting Monday to contain a rapid rise in nationwide Covid-19 cases.

The lockdown made it prohibited to go out of houses without any emergencies and asked all the shops to stay closed. Public transport was also suspended.

Industries, factories, banks, and some other offices were allowed to operate following the health guidelines.

The new restrictions came after a surge in cases over the past week as the second wave gripped the country.

The country has registered over 5,000 cases each day since Mar.29.

Cases had begun to drop in January when Bangladesh registered less than 1,000 cases for 51 days in a row before the number rose again.

The authorities had already imposed some restrictions on Mar.19, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from Europe.

As part of an undeclared lockdown last year, Bangladesh imposed confinement for nearly two months ending May 30, during which offices, factories, schools, and markets remained closed.

Education institutions have remained shut since then.

A socio-economic assessment of Covid-19 carried out by the United Nations Development Program in October 2020 found about 56.2 percent of beneficiaries of the National Urban Poverty Reduction Program went below the poverty line during the first lockdown.

It was 41.7 percent at the baseline of the study in 2019. EFE-EPA


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