Four protesters shot dead in Bangladesh after ‘desecration’

Published October 15, 2021
A vandalise temple is seen in Comilla on Thursday. — AFP
A vandalise temple is seen in Comilla on Thursday. — AFP

DHAKA: Bangladesh police shot dead four people after hundreds vandalised several Hindu temples across the Muslim-majority nation, officials said on Thursday.

Police opened fire on a mob of over 500 people late on Wednesday following furore over desecration of the Holy Quran during a Hindu religious festival.

In the main incident, a group of people attacked a temple and clashed with police in the southern town of Hajiganj, leaving four dead and over 20 injured, including 15 police officers, local police chief Milon Mahmud said.

A police inspector confirmed the four were shot dead.

Two Hindus were also killed and some 150 others injured on Wednesday, community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik said, with at least 80 makeshift temples attacked.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are in fear,” Pramanik said, adding two more attacks took place on Thursday.

The temple where the alleged desecration took place was among those assaulted, police inspector Monir Ahmed said, adding that 40 people were arrested at the site.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, who said there were also attempts to ransack the homes of some Hindus, vowed to track down the alleged perpetrators.

In a statement, the government ordered a probe into the violence and urged “everyone to keep religious harmony, peace and security”.

Paramilitary border guards were deployed in 22 of the country’s 64 districts to provide security to festival goers during the nation’s largest Hindu celebration.

Local news site Bdnews24.com, as well as other major Bangladesh news outlets, reported that police had detained a Muslim man named Fayez for allegedly sharing video of the incident.

Officers also clashed with hundreds of people in the northeastern Zakiganj town on Wednesday after protesters gathered.

“Several people and a couple of police officers were injured. The mob attacked and vandalised police and local administrators’ cars. We have deployed extra police,” deputy police chief Lutfar Rahman said.

Also in the north, local media reported temples — as well as Hindu idols — were vandalised in two rural districts.

Authorities also increased security in the southern city of Chittagong, which is home to a sizable Hindu population.

India’s foreign affairs ministry called the attacks “disturbing” in a weekly press briefing and said the High Commission was in close contact with local authorities.

Hindus, who make up some 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s 169 million population, have complained of sporadic violence in recent years, often sparked by rumours spread on social media.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Debt deferment
26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

PAKISTAN is seeking deferment of its bilateral debt of nearly $10bn for a few years, which, if approved by the...
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...
UNGA speech
25 Sep, 2022

UNGA speech

CRISES test a nation’s resilience but also provide opportunities to rise and move forward. Prime Minister Shehbaz...
Dar’s return
Updated 25 Sep, 2022

Dar’s return

Dar will now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the govt to start spending ahead of the next elections.
Iran hijab protests
25 Sep, 2022

Iran hijab protests

FOR over a week now, Iran has been witnessing considerable tumult after a young woman died earlier this month in the...