They said these fanatics were intolerant of even other Islamic sects while a noted cleric said this barbaric act only casts Islam in bad light and completely contradicts the religious spirit.
Sultana Kamal, a noted human rights activist and lawyer, said the culture of suppressing minorities was not a traditional practice. “Rather, the political parties have imported this culture for their expediency and creating a rift among the communities,” she told the Dhaka Tribune Tuesday.
A large group of about 3,000 people gathered in Brahmanbaria’s Nasirnagar upazila on Sunday protesting a Facebook post that debased the Kaaba. The Facebook account is owned by Rasraj Das of Haripur village, who was taken into custody on Saturday after a beating. Before handing him over to the police, the radicals also damaged his and looted valuables, and vandalised two Puja pavilions.
Mosques of several villages were used to ask the Muslims to meet at Nasirnagar at 10am on Sunday. From the rally, organised by local radical Islamist groups, several hundred people launched barbaric attacks on the Hindu homesteads which left more than 100 people injured, hundreds homeless and more than 10 temples vandalised in the nearby villages.
Same groups led protests in Madhabdi area in Habiganj demanding capital punishment for Rasraj, and vandalised two temples.
Sultana Kamal also urged the government to ascertain the root cause behind such attacks on the minorities. “The culprits should be punished immediately to stop recurrence of such incidents,” she said.
Sultana said the government’s ploy of creating a rift had now led to opportunist groups trying to do away with the harmony of religious diversity in Bangladesh.
Blaming the ruling government’s failure to punish the culprits of Ramu attacks in 2012 where several Buddhist temples were vandalised by the miscreants, Sultana Kamal said: “This lack of justice has further emboldened the culprits.”
The man who leads the largest Eid congregation of Bangladesh at Sholakia, Maulana Farid Uddin Masuod, said what the people have done in Brahmanbaria in the name of Islam is completely against of Islamic spirit.
“Islam does not permit judging anybody, while the accused is already in custody,” he said, conceding that the Facebook post hurting Muslim sentiments was certainly offensive.
Also a noted Muslim cleric, Masuod termed the attacks on Hindus a deliberate attempt by opportunists.
Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nijera Kori and a rights activist, said the political parties had compromised way too much with the Islamists and the military for their own expediency that they never stopped to think about the people.
She said the religious fanatics were not even going to tolerate those belonging to other Muslim sects, “no question of accommodating Hindus or other minorities, for that matter.”
Khushi Kabir said she thought that the momentum of identifying militants and extremists immediately after the attacks on Gulshan's Holey Artisan Bakery should have continued.