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Rival Indian Origin, Sunni-Muslim Groups Clash in Bangladesh, 200 Injured

Over 200 people were injured and one killed in Bangladesh when a clash between supporters of two factions of Tableeghi Jamaat, India-based Sunni Muslim organisations, over establishing dominance at a congregation organised here, police said.

The factional clash disrupted the traffic movement on a major highway linking Dhaka with northwestern regions, they said. The Tableeghi Jamaat is one of the largest organisations of Sunni Muslims in the Indian subcontinent with its headquarters, referred to as the Markaz, in New Delhi.

The organisation was founded by Indian Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalvi in 1920. According to police, a 70-year-old man was killed and over 170 people injured as the clash erupted among the supporters of the two factions while they were rallying at the Ijtema (congregation) ground in the morning.

“The violence continued for hours despite our efforts to prevent them…It went out of our control,” a police officer present at the scene told PTI.

Attempts to establish dominance on the ijtema ground on the banks of the Turag river at Tongi district on the outskirts of Dhaka triggered the clash, he said. While 150 injured were rushed to a nearby government hospital, 20 critically wounded were taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, doctors said.

According to police, the clashes erupted as followers of one of the factions led by Tabligh Jamaat’s Delhi Markaz leader Moulana Mohammed Saad Kandhalvi began to march towards the Ijtema ground for a five-day congregation ahead of the annual main event earlier planned for January.

Bangladesh’s Election Commission had banned any kind of congregation at Tongi Ijtema field till the December 30 general election, following a petition by the opponent Deoband group.

The members of the Deoband faction led by Moulana Zubayer took up positions around the Tongi field and the nearby areas to prevent supporters of the other group from entering into the main ground, prompting the clash.

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