Unidentified mobsters wearing skull caps vandalised Hindu temples in Bangladesh during the ongoing Durga Puja celebrations in that country, prompting the Shaikh Hasina Wazed government to deploy paramilitary force in 22 districts after three people were killed and many others injured in riots. Following allegations of blasphemy, Muslims targeted a local temple in Cumilla, about 100 km from Dhaka, on 13 October.
Violence erupted after a rumour spread via social media that the Qur’an was allegedly desecrated at a Durga Puja pandal near Nanuar Dighi lake in the Cumilla town.
Exiled writer Taslima Nasreen revealed on Twitter the genesis of the rumour. “Some anti-Hindu Muslim fanatics secretly put the Quran on the feet of Hanuman statue at Durga puja pandal in Comilla, Bangladesh. It is just for an excuse to attack Hindus in the name of hurting religious feelings. Hope govt will save the minority community,” she tweeted.
Following Cumilla violence, Muslims attacked temples in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chattogram’s Banshkhali and Cox’s Bazar’s Pekua.
According to Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council, the puja mandap at Nanua Dighi in Comilla was attacked after “rumours of insulting the Quran”.
“A scandalous day in the history of Bangladesh… We cannot publish in a tweet what has happened in the last 24 hours. The Hindus of Bangladesh saw the real faces of some people. We don’t know what will happen in the future. But the Hindus of Bangladesh will never forget Durga Puja in 2021…” the council further said.
Previously, similar incidents were also reported from Tipu Sultan Road in Dhaka and Kotwali in Chittagong.
As violence spread to other puja pandals, police tried to bring the situation under control but were pelted with stones by mobs. Security forces had to fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the rioters.
As clashes broke out, the administration and the police tried to bring the situation under control. Incidents of vandalism of Hindu places of worship by Muslims have been reported from Hindu temples in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chattogram’s Banshkhali and Cox’s Bazar’s Pekua.
At one stage, the situation went out of control and targeted attacks spread to a number of Durga Puja venues. The local administration and the police came under attack as they tried to maintain law and order, it said.
At least three people were killed and many others injured on 13 October as a mob and the police clashed in Chandpur’s Hajiganj subdivision following the incident in Cumilla.
Later, the elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and paramilitary force Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were deployed to bring the situation under control, the report said.
The religious affairs ministry issued an emergency notice, urging members of the public not to take the law into their hands as it reiterated calls to maintain communal harmony and peace, it said.
The government deployed the BGB in 22 districts after multiple attacks on Hindu temples during Durga Puja celebrations, the report said.
“BGB personnel have been deployed to ensure security during Durga Puja at the request of deputy commissioners and under instructions from the home ministry,” BGB director of operations Lieutenant colonel Faizur Rahman said.
“So far we have deployed BGB personnel to 22 districts, including Cumilla and Narsingdi, as necessary,” the officer said, adding that troops could be deployed to the capital if the local administration makes a request.
India takes up matter with Bangladesh
India spoke to Bangladesh about the alleged attacks on Durga Puja arenas by banned militant group Jamaat-e-Islami. “We have seen disturbing reports of nasty incidents, including attacks at religious rallies in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government has responded swiftly to ensure control of the situation, including the deployment of law enforcement agencies. We also understand that in Bangladesh, with the support of government agencies and the majority of the people, the Durgarpjar festival continues. Our mission and post in Bangladesh are with Dhaka. We are in close contact with local authorities, “said MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi.
Sources claimed that Park-backed Djamaat was behind the attack, looking to cast a shadow over bilateral relations.
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will take strong action on Thursday at Durga Puja Pandal in Comira against those involved in causing community turmoil by placing the Holy Clan at the feet of the Hindu god. Promised.