At least 7 die, 25 hurt in Bangladesh gas pipeline explosion

Rescue workers are seen at the site of a gas pipeline explosion in the port city of Chittagong, Bangladesh, November 17, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 17 November 2019

At least 7 die, 25 hurt in Bangladesh gas pipeline explosion

  • The explosion at Patharghata area in Chittagong district collapsed portions of a boundary wall of a nearby building
  • The explosion took place when residents were preparing for the day’s work in the morning

DHAKA, Bangladesh: At least seven people were killed and another 25 injured after a gas pipeline exploded in southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday, police said.

The explosion at Patharghata area in Chittagong district collapsed portions of a boundary wall of a nearby building, local police chief Mohammed Mohsin said.

He said at least 25 people were hospitalized and firefighters joined the rescue operation.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion. News reports said the road in front of the explosion site was busy with people and tricycle rickshaws. A boundary wall fell on the people on the road.

The explosion took place when residents were preparing for the day’s work in the morning, Mohsin said.

Chittagong is 216 kilometers (134 miles) southeast of the capital, Dhaka.


India protests spread over ‘anti-Muslim’ law

Updated 30 min 48 sec ago

India protests spread over ‘anti-Muslim’ law

  • The new bill fast-tracks citizenship for non-Muslim immigrants from three neighboring countries
  • Four buses and two police vehicles were reportedly set ablaze during protests

NEW DELHI: Fresh protests were expected across India on Monday over a new citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim, after clashes overnight in the capital and days of unrest in the northeast that left six people dead.
The bill fast-tracks citizenship for non-Muslim immigrants from three neighboring countries, but critics allege it is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda to marginalize India’s 200 million Muslims — something he denies.
On Sunday evening thousands took to the streets in the northeast, the scene of days of rioting and deadly running battles with police, while other protests were reported across India in Delhi, Aligarh, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Patna and Raipur.
In the capital, officers fired tear gas and charged with batons as several thousand demonstrators marched, and rallied outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university and police headquarters. Four buses and two police vehicles were reportedly set ablaze.
Police stormed the university campus, with media outlets reporting as many as 100 students and a dozen officers were injured.
Around 50 people were detained and released after a night behind bars on Monday, police said.
Students insisted in a statement that they disassociated themselves from any violence.
“We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and non-violent. We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in the violence,” they declared.
Authorities in northern Uttar Pradesh have snapped Internet access in western parts of the state following the demonstrations on Aligarh, home to a large university and a sizeable Muslim population.
However, the main epicenter of the protests has been in India’s far-flung northeastern states, long a seething and violent melting pot of ethnic tensions.
Their people are opposed to the citizenship law because they fear it will allow several hundred thousand immigrants from Bangladesh, many of them Hindu, to stay.
On Sunday night in Assam state — following days of rioting and clashes with police that have left six people dead — around 6,000 people protested on Sunday evening, with no major incidents reported.
The UN human rights office said last week it was concerned the law “would appear to undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s constitution.”
Modi on Sunday blamed the main opposition Congress party and its allies for the unrest, while Home Minister Amit Shah called again for calm.
“Culture, language, social identity and political rights of our brothers and sisters from the northeast will remain intact,” Shah said in a speech.
The new law is being challenged in the Supreme Court by rights groups and a Muslim political party, arguing that it is against the constitution and India’s secular traditions.