Local Puja committee president arrested in face of protests by locals
Police have arrested a member of a minority community in the face of protests against him for allegedly making slanderous remarks against Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) in Bhola.
Gouranga Chandra Dey, 50, who serves as the president of the district's puja celebration committee, was arrested on Thursday, said Superintendent of Police (SP) Sarkar Mohammad Kaysar.
He was arrested under Section 54 of Code of Criminal Procedure and produced before court the same night.
According to Section 54, the police may arrest an individual without a warrant or order from a magistrate if they find him involved in suspicious activities.
The accused was already at the police station since Thursday afternoon for protection against the protesters.
According to the police, screenshots of chats on Facebook messenger between two accounts named Gouranga and Jay Raam went viral on social media on Wednesday.
Derogatory comments regarding the Prophet were reportedly made in the conversation which triggered protests.
In protest against remarks, Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s activists of the local unit, gathered on Hatkhola Mosque premises, and gave a 72-hour ultimatum for Gouranga’s arrest while locals vandalized his car at his residence over the incident.
Meanwhile, Gouranga says his Facebook profile was hacked and that he filed a general complaint with the police on Wednesday night.
According to SP Kaysar, an investigation was underway and, in the meantime, Gouranga Chandra’s house has been put under police protection.
Earlier in March this year, police arrested Jhuman Das, 25, under the Digital Security Act over posting a Facebook post against Hefazat-e-Islami leader Mamunul Haque after a programme at Sylhet.
Enraged by Mamunul Haque's speech at the conference, Jhuman Das from Noagaon village posted a status on his Facebook on March 16 criticizing Mamunul.
The post prompted Mamunul's supporters to bring out a procession in the area on March 16, accusing the Hindu man of hurting religious sentiments.
On March 17, thousands of followers of the Hefazat leader from Kashipur, Nachni, Chandipur and other villages attacked Noagaon village with sticks and locally-made weapons.
According to the police they ransacked Hindu houses and looted valuables as member of the minority community fled the village in fear.
On May 12, the US State Department published the Report on International Religious Freedom saying that communal attacks on religious minorities in Bangladesh were on the rise.
The report also listed a number of incidents of murder, intimidation, mass attack and violence perpetrated against the religious minorities in Bangladesh.
On Thursday, the alliance of religious and racial minorities has asked the government to form a national commission and amended the law to end discrimination and violence against minorities and warned of a long march towards Dhaka in February next year.