Police in a drive arrested 19 people including a BNP leader from different areas in the district allegedly for spreading rumours about Ahmadiyya community.
Fazle Rabbi, 30, joint convener of Panchagarh municipality unit BNP and also a leader of municipality unit Jubo Dal and son of Solaiman Ali of Rajnagar area, was among the arrestees.
Tipped off, a team of police conducted drives in the district town and arrested them on Saturday night, said Abdul Latif Mia, officer-in-charge of Panchagarh Police Station.
He also said that Fazle Rabbi along with some other youths, riding on some motorbikes, spread rumours in different parts of the district town saying that some Ahmadiyya community members slaughtered two Muslims.
They also spread the rumours on social networking site Facebook.
Following the rumours, some young people equipped with sticks and sharp weapons blocked roads, carried out arson attacks on houses and looted shops.
“Strict action will be taken against them,” said the OC.
Earlier, on Friday, two people were killed and at least 50 others including policemen were injured in the clash between a section of Muslim devotees and police demanding the closure of an Ahmadiyya community’s event in Panchagarh district town.
Ahmadiyya community organised a three-day religious event Salna Jalsa on Friday. After the Jummah prayers, Muslim devotees gathered from some mosques in Panchagarh municipality area and started a protest march.
Then they went to Panchagarh town staging an agitation there. At one point they marched towards the Qadianis Jalsa in the Ahmed Nagar area.
As police stopped the procession at Panchagarh Chowrangi intersection, the protesters became angry and started throwing brickbats at the police in the city’s cinema hall road area.
Police had to move back at one point due to the protest procession. Shops in Panchagarh town closed as the violence spread panic among the people.
The angry mob also looted around 20 houses of the Ahmadiyya community located in Ahmednagar.
Internet services in the whole area remained suspended following the clash.
Alongside police, members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed in different important roads to avoid further trouble, said Abdul Latif Mia, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station.