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Attacks on Hindus: Govt takes firm stance as over 470 arrested in 6 days

  • Published at 12:02 am October 20th, 2021
Rangpur arson
Locals return home on Monday morning to find their homes and belongings burned to ashes in Rangpur's Pirganj uapzila Dhaka Tribune

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal says the person behind the Comilla incident will be arrested soon

The law enforcement agencies are taking swift action against the perpetrators of the communal violence that shocked the country with 476 people arrested till Tuesday.

At least 71 cases have been initiated in different parts of the country, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Md Kamruzzaman of the police headquarters said in a statement on Monday.

The number of arrests and cases could rise further as operations are underway, said the senior police official.

In another statement, the Police Headquarters warned everyone against conspiracies to create instability by spreading rumours on social media.

The relevant police unit is monitoring social media for rumours, according to the statement, which urged the people not to trust anything without fact-checking.

Also Read- Timeline: Attacks on Hindus since October 13

The prime minister has asked the law enforcers to take stern steps and also asked Muslims to practice restraint as countrywide attacks on Durga Puja venues, temples, Hindu homes and businesses, and rumours on social media created massive outrage at home and abroad.

Screengrab from video on social media show Hindu homes burning at a village in Rangpur’s Pirganj upazila on Sunday, October 17, 2021 Facebook

Chandpur death toll climbs to 5

Another man died on Tuesday while undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). He was injured in clashes between police and attackers at the Lakshmi Narayan Akhra temple in Chandpur's Hajiganj upazila on October 13.

The deceased was identified as Md Sagor, 25, and the total number of deaths from the incident now stands at five, confirmed Md Harunur Rashid, officer-in-charge of Hajiganj Police Station. 

‘Prime suspect changing locations to evade police’

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Tuesday said authorities have identified the person behind the Comilla incident and he will be arrested soon.

“He has been changing locations frequently to avoid getting caught. We’ll be able to reveal details of the Comilla incident once he’s arrested,” he said.

Those who are trying to unleash communal violence and provoke people will be arrested soon, he said.

Rapid Action Battalion troops on patrol by a vandalized Durga Puja mandap to avoid communal violence in Comilla town on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

“We’ve seen some unpleasant incidents at puja mandaps this year and some people attempted to vandalize a temple in Chandpur centering on the Comilla incident. Police had to face trouble in bringing the situation under control,” said the home minister.

Also Read- Comilla Carnage: How the events unfolded that day

Besides, attempts were made to destabilize the situation in Ramu, Nasirnagar and Bhola by spreading rumours via social media, he said.

“A vested quarter is involved in spreading propaganda in the country by uploading video footage of many brutal incidents that took place in the country in different times, and in the past on social media. These are condemnable and unfortunate,” he added.

Man remanded for Facebook live

A Comilla court has placed Md Foyez Rahman on a two-day remand for circulating the matter of the Holy Quran kept in a Durga Puja pavilion on social media.

On October 13, tensions erupted among a faction of locals in Comilla after Foyez Ahmed went live on Facebook to report the alleged defamation of the Quran at a Puja venue in Nanuar Dighi area.

Vandalized idols at one of the temples that came under attack in Gournadi, Barisal on Friday, October 15, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

Police arrested him that night on charges of broadcasting the incident live and recording it on a mobile phone.

Also Read- PM Hasina: Refrain from religious excesses

Meanwhile, police handed over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate further.

38 sent to jail over Rangpur attack

A Rangpur court sent 38 accused to prison in a case filed over the recent assault, vandalism and arson attack on homes, shops and temples belonging to members of the Hindu community in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur.

Rangpur Senior Judicial Magistrate Fazle Elahi passed the order on Tuesday afternoon, Rangpur Sadar Court Inspector Golam Mostafa told Dhaka Tribune.

Police produced 41 suspects before the court in the morning. However, the court did not issue any order against the other three accused as they are aged below 18.

Meanwhile, the teenager who posted the status that reportedly sparked the arson attacks in Rangpur has made a confessional statement under Section 164 in the same court.

Also Read- Quader: Hindu brothers and sisters, don't be afraid, Awami League is with you

Earlier on Monday night, he was arrested from Panchbibi, Joypurhat in the other case filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA).

Both cases were filed by Pirganj police station Sub-Inspector Ismail Hossain on Tuesday morning.

26 new arrests

Police have arrested three more people for their involvement in the arson attack on Chandmoni Rakkhakali Temple in Kapadiapatti area of the town on October 13.

The trio were arrested from different parts of the city on Tuesday in connection with a case filed under the Special Powers Act against 50 named and 500 unnamed persons.

Meanwhile, 23 more people arrested in cases filed over the attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja pavilions in Banshkhali of Chittagong on October 13.

NHRC forms probe committee

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday formed a three-member committee to investigate the Pirganj incident.

The committee has been asked to complete the investigation and submit its full report within the next seven working days.

Protests continue

Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) urged the government on Tuesday to formulate a new law and pass it in parliament while they were protesting against the ongoing attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues in different parts of the country.

Condemning the violence, DU Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof M Akhtaruzzaman said: “Durga Puja celebrations in this country are a model of secularism for the entire world. This festival is open to people of all religions.”

Also Read- Dr Shirin Sharmin: Exemplary punishment of Pirganj attackers to be ensured

Khulna University Teachers’ Association also condemned the attack on the Hindu community in Comilla and Rangpur.

Moreover, rights activists under the banner “Poets, litterateur, artists and journalists against communal terrorism” held a protest rally in front of National Museum at Shahbagh. 

Protest processions and rallies also took place in Dhaka, Tangail, Chittagong, Rangamati, Barisal, Bogra and several other dictrists. 

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