Facebook Says Services Restricted in Bangladesh Amid PM Modi Visit

Bangladesh has earlier used internet shutdowns as a tool to curb protests.

Updated
Politics
2 min read
Facebook also said it had serious concerns about the manner, in which it was being restricted in Bangladesh at a time when effective communication was necessary to tackle the COVID pandemic.
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Social networking site Facebook and its messaging app have been down in Bangladesh since Friday, the US tech giant said on Saturday, 27 March. The statement came in the wake of protesters opposing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the country.

Four people were killed on Friday when police opened fire after protesters allegedly attacked a police station in the Bangladeshi city of Chittagong during a demonstration against Modi’s visit.

“We’re aware that our services have been restricted in Bangladesh,” Facebook said in a statement. “We’re working to understand more and hope to have full access restored as soon as possible.”

The government of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not comment if it had blocked Facebook services, but it has earlier used internet shutdowns as a tool to curb protests.

Facebook also said it had serious concerns about the manner, in which it was being restricted in Bangladesh at a time when effective communication was necessary to tackle the COVID pandemic.

Local hardline group Hefazat-e-Islam, meaning ‘protection of Islam’, has called for a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest the Chittagong killings. Hefazat and its supporters accused Modi of alienating Muslims in India.

Modi landed in Dhaka on Friday for a two-day visit, his first international trip since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nation’s independence.

PM Modi Confers Prize Upon Mujibur Rahman

Addressing the National Day event in Dhaka, PM Modi said, “I would like to remind my brothers and sisters in Bangladesh with pride of being involved in the struggle for independence of Bangladesh was one of the first movements of my life.” He said that he went to jail for his participation in these protests.

PM Modi also handed over the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s daughters on Friday, saying, “It is a matter of pride for Indians that we got the opportunity to honour Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with Gandhi Peace Prize.”

(With inputs From Reuters)

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