Following deadly protests against India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, Bangladesh has appointed border guards to help maintain order, a senior officer said on Saturday. The violence, which began on Friday at the main mosque in the capital Dhaka, spread to several key districts in the South Asian nation of 168 million, leaving five people dead and scores injured.
Facebook has been restricted in the country, a company spokesperson said after users complained they could not access the site since late Friday afternoon as images and reports of the violence were shared on social media.
A spokesperson for the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), which also acts as a reserve paramilitary force to maintain law and order, said it had deployed troops since Friday night. "With the instructions of the home ministry and in aid of the civil administration, the required number of BGB has been deployed in different districts of the country," Lieutenant Colonel Fayzur Rahman told reporters.
Rahman said there had been no reports of violence after their deployment. "Situation is normal," he said. The disturbances came as Bangladesh marked 50 years of independence with rights groups calling for an end to growing authoritarianism including forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings.
Police said four bodies of members of Hefazat-e-Islam, a hardline group, were brought to Chittagong Medical College Hospital after violence erupted at Hathazari, a rural town where the group´s main leaders are based.