• Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:15 am

Rangpur attack: Men vanish in Pirganj villages

  • Published at 04:38 pm October 27th, 2021
rangpur pirganj
With all men apparently gone into hiding, only women and children now remain in Nakharpara village under Ramnathpur union in Rangpur's Pirganj upazila. Photo taken on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

They fled as police were arresting innocent people as potential suspects, claimed locals

All men from seven villages in Rangpur's Pirganj upazila have seemingly vanished from the area.

Women alleged the local men had been forced to go into hiding in order to evade unlawful arrest in cases filed over the recent arson attacks on Hindu homes in the area.

They also said they were struggling to put food on the table with all the main bread-winners of the families on the run.

Our correspondent recently visited Ramnathpur union’s Nakharpara, Jaigirpara, Barakarimpur, Rajarampur, and Majidpur, and Chatra union's Polipara and Satgara villages.

On the visit, the correspondent found most of the villages were quiet and devoid of any men. Only women and children appeared to be present.

In Jaigirpara, Anguri Begum, wife of Shahidul Islam, said: “People in plainclothes came to our village every night and searched our homes without any reason. There’s no way to tell who they were.”

Another woman, Ayesha Siddique from Majidpur, said her husband, a mason, had not been home in the past one week out of fear of arrest. 

Mamtaz Begum of Nakharpara village, Laili Begum and Mahmuda Begum of Jagirhat village, Moksuda of Rajarampur village, Sadeka and Halima of Barakarimpur village made similar allegations. 

Also read - Court sends 38 accused to jail over Rangpur arson attack

The villagers said more than 60 men from their localities had been arrested so far over the communal violence. 

Most of them were innocent and had nothing to do with the incident, they claimed.

Ramnathpur Union Council Chairman Sadequl Islam said they had repeatedly urged the villagers to stay at home, and it was true that some of those arrested over the recent attacks were innocent.

Pirganj police station OC Suresh Chandra denied allegations of arresting innocents.

He said: “Those who were not involved in the recent arson attacks should have no problem staying home, as no one would be unjustly arrested.”

On the night of October 17, establishments belonging to members of the Hindu community were set on fire by a mob at Boro Karimpur village in Pirganj. Around 30 locals were injured at the time.

The attacks took place after communal violence spread to some 20 districts in recent weeks, triggered by allegations that the Holy Quran had been desecrated at a Hindu temple during Durga Puja celebrations in Comilla. 

On October 18, a case was filed with Pirganj police station against 500 unnamed accused over the violence. A total of 66 people have so far been arrested in the case, as well as four people in three other cases filed over the incident.

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