Dhaka: Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad announced that they would lead a demonstration on Saturday (October 16) against the violence and vandalism targeted at the Hindu community during Durga Puja celebrations. It announced demonstrations across the country on Saturday protesting the incidents. A demonstration will take place in Shahbagh intersection at 4:00 pm, said the statement, reported The Daily Star.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, in a statement, said communal forces attacked puja mandaps and houses in Chattogram, Noakhali and Kishoreganj. It strongly condemned the incidents and demanded that the culprits be punished.
The Hindu community came under attack in different places on Friday despite a strong vigil by law enforcers for ensuring peaceful Durga Puja celebrations.
As per The Daily Star, violence and vandalism in several districts were witnessed across Bangladesh. The perpetrators of communal violence stabbed a man to death at a temple in Noakhali as well as idols, houses and shops of the Hindu community came under attack.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said those behind the incidents would be brought to book. "No one will be spared … All the incidents will be investigated and the motive behind them will be revealed. Those trying to destabilise the situation will be punished," he told The Daily Star last night.
Asked whether they had any clue about the culprit(s) behind Wednesday's incident in Cumilla that sparked the violence, he said, "Investigation is underway. We are hopeful about identifying them. Law enforcement agencies are also on alert to avert any untoward situation in future."
The violence took place yesterday after processions were brought out following Juma prayers protesting the incident in Cumilla on Wednesday. In Noakhali, attackers from a procession of several thousand people stormed into the Bijoya Durga Temple on College Road in Begumganj around 2:30 pm. At one stage, the mob beat and stabbed Jatan Kumar Saha, 38, a member of the executive committee of the temple managing committee. He died in Noakhali Sadar Hospital later, reported The Daily Star.
With Jatan, five people have been killed as violence erupted in several places following reports that "the Holy Quran was demeaned" in Cumilla. Four of them were killed in clashes between a mob and law enforcers in Hajiganj of Chandpur. Several processions joined by thousands of people attacked and vandalised at least ten temples and over 50 businesses of the Hindu community on College Road, DB Road, Bank Road, Chowmuhoni, Chowmuhoni Dakkhin Bazar, Radha Madhab Temple and Ram Thakur Ashram in Noakhali, said Gowtam Saha, a Hindu Community leader of Begumganj. His car was set ablaze inside the ashram, he said.
Additional police members, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), brought the situation under control around 5:00 pm. At least 50 people, including cops, were injured as the law enforcers swung into action, said police sources.
In Chattogram, a group of zealots from a procession brought out in the Andarkilla area started throwing brickbats targeting the Jemson Hall Puja Mandap in the district, reported The Daily Star. Witnesses said as the group threw brickbats at the temple housing the mandap and tried to vandalise it, police chased them away, leading to a clash between the law enforcers and the zealots. Police said they detained around 50 protesters from the spot.
In Sylhet, religious zealots went to Bhati-Bangla Durga Mandap in the Hawladarpara area of the city, vandalised the entrance gate and five houses and three shops owned by Hindu people, locals and witnesses said.
Advocate Dilip Kumar, a resident of the area, said the attackers first tried to attack the Kali Temple and then attacked the Durga Mandap with bamboo sticks. They also attacked several houses of local Hindus and a few shops owned by Hindu people, he added, reported The Daily Star.
In Dhaka, five policemen were injured, and at least five people were detained after a group of protesters clashed with on-duty police personnel at the Kakrail intersection yesterday following a protest procession that was brought out from Baitul Mukarram after Juma prayers.
Earlier, security around the national mosque was beefed up, and members of RAB, BGB and different intelligence agencies were deployed alongside the police to avert any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, police on Thursday night filed two cases over the attacks on a puja mandap and clash between zealots and law enforcers in Hajiganj, Chandpur, against five to six identified and 2,000 unidentified people, said Abdur Rashid, officer-in-charge of Hajiganj Police Station.