- Sporadic communal tensions spark following alleged desecration of the Quran amidst Durga puja celebrations
- 20 Hindu houses burned down by arsonists, temples vandalized and idols disfigured by miscreants.
- UN urges the Government to safeguard Hindu minorities from repeated attacks and issue an impartial investigation of the matter.
Following the viral social media post over an alleged incident of desecration of the Quran during the Durga Puja celebration in Bangladesh’s Cumilla town, intermittent attacks and vandalism broke out on Hindu minorities. Local media reports suggest the arson attacks were carried out by a mob of more than 100 people in Dhaka’s Rangpur district. Police hurried to the region when tensions sparked over rumored debasement of religion by a Hindu man.
As communal tensions gripped several parts of the country amidst ongoing Durga puja celebrations, various incidents of attacks, involving the massacre and vandalism of Durga Puja pandals have come to light. Ahead of the Cumilla violence, reports came in revealing events of hooliganism started pouring in from temples of Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chittagong’s Banshkhali, and Cox’s Bazar’s Pekua started pouring in.
The Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported occurrences of the wreckage of Hindu-owned temples and shops in Feni, which is about 157 km from Dhaka. Violent clashes in the region injured at least 40 people including the officer in charge of the Feni Model police station. Added police and paramilitary forces were deployed in the region following the destruction and robbery of several temples and businesses owned by the Hindus.
According to reports, unidentified bigots annihilated several idols at Daniapara Maha Shoshan Kali Mandir, and several protests were staged condemning the attacks leading to public outcry. Ahead of this, the ISKCON temple was vandalized and a devotee was killed by miscreants, further escalating the communal tensions. On Sunday, several houses of Hindus were set afire in Pirganj Upazilla of Rangpur district, about 255 km from Dhaka.
A six-hour strike was observed by the Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council on Saturday and they further announced a hunger strike starting October 23rd. Dozens of people have been arrested on account of disrupting the religious harmony across the country and for spreading communal hatred on social media.
Mia Seppo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh strongly objects to the recent attacks on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, incited by hate speech across social media platforms, and appeals to the Government to ensure the protection of the minority groups in addition to organizing an impartial probe into the matter.
The country’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina promises people that the ones to be accounted for the incidents of communal outrage shall be ‘’hunted down’’. Former Bangladesh captain, Mashrafe Mortaza reacted to the intercommunity brutality that engulfed the country. Mortaza says that he is shattered by the intensity of the violent events and prays to God to show people the right path. “So many dreams, so many hard-earned lives lost in a flash”- he added.