Dhaka: Some unidentified Muslim miscreants damaged some Hindu temples during Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh, forcing the government to deploy paramilitary forces in 22 districts. Media reports on Thursday said four people were killed and several others were injured in the clashes.
At the same time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that those responsible for the incident will not be spared. Promising punishment to the perpetrators of the violence, he said no one involved in attacking temples and Durga Puja pandals in Kamila would be spared.
During a program organized at Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka on the occasion of Durga Puja festival, Sheikh Hasina said, “The incidents in Kamila are being investigated. No one will be spared. It does not matter which religion the attackers belong to.
Rallies banned in Hajiganj
The Prime Minister attended the program through online from his official residence. A Home Ministry spokesman said that Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) troops have been deployed in 22 districts across the country to prevent violence. He said that along with BGB, anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and armed police have also been ordered to remain deployed in 22 out of 64 administrative districts of the country and elsewhere to prevent violence.
According to reports, three people were killed on Wednesday during a clash between police and Muslim miscreants in Hajiganj sub-district of Chandpur bordering Kamila, while another person died later. Authorities have banned rallies in Hajiganj, where authorities have confirmed four people were shot dead. Two other people were seriously injured in the clash, he said.
Police had started firing on the crowd
Police said some of their officers were also injured as the mob attacked police and local administrative officials and vandalized their vehicles. Although he did not specify whether the people were killed in the police action, but reports said the police had opened fire on a crowd of more than 500 people.
According to officials, the police were informed after the alleged blasphemy incident at a Durga Puja pandal in Kamila, about 100 km from here, following which an investigation was launched. Violence also broke out in Kamila, parts of neighboring Hajiganj, Hatia and Banskhali coastal sub-districts following attacks on temples by miscreants. Social media was also used on a large scale to incite communal tension.
Hindu religious leaders termed the violence as part of a conspiracy to disrupt Durga Puja celebrations and demanded action against miscreants as well as protection of Hindu temples. Kamila District Puja Ceremony Committee secretary Nirmal Pal said that a particular group carried out blasphemous activities in the pandal to stop Durga Puja.
43 people were taken into custody – police
Police said that they have so far taken 43 people into custody in connection with the violence. People who put the first video of Kamila worship place on social media have also been kept in custody. Deputy Inspector General of Police Anwar Hussain told the media in Camilla, “The investigation is going on and we are also identifying the miscreants by looking at the footage of the security cameras.”
The general secretary of the ruling Awami League and the country’s road transport minister, Obaidul Qadir, said fundamentalist elements attacked Hindu temples at 10-12 places for political purposes. “But our government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will not allow her ill-conceived ideas to come true,” he told reporters at a puja pandal at the Ramakrishna Mission here. And told that Prime Minister Hasina has ordered strict action against communal elements. “We will be vigilant,” the minister said.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an emergency notice requesting the public not to take the law into their own hands. About 10 percent of the population of 169 million in Muslim-majority Bangladesh are Hindus. There have been incidents of sporadic violence over the years, most of which were caused by spreading rumors through social media.
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