NEW DELHI: The Hindus most loved and vibrant festival Durga Puja ended in violence and vandalism for the Hindu minority community of Bangladesh as Islamic extremists exhibited barbaric behaviour over a Facebook rumour.
A Facebook post allegedly showing Hindus insulting the Quran went viral on social media on Wednesday night after which the religious fanatics took to the streets to vandalize several Durga pandals.
Denying the claims of insulting Quran, Shibu Prasad Dutta, the general secretary of Cumilla Mahanagar Puja Udjapon Committee, informed that someone placed a copy of the Quran at a Durga Puja pavilion in Nanua Dighir Par early in the morning when the guard was asleep.
“The miscreants took some pictures of this and ran away. Within a few hours, using Facebook, the propaganda spread like wildfire with the provocative pictures,” confirmed a district official. He hinted at the role of some Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islam workers.
Temples in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chattogram’s Banshkhali, Chapainawabganj’s Shibganj and Cox’s Bazar’s Pekua were brutally attacked with the Hindu devotees being thrashed.
As many as three Hindus have reportedly been killed in the violent clash, however, the police is yet to confirm the same. Several local Hindus and Hindu organizations in Bangladesh took to Twitter to share the visuals of vandalism.
Sharing a video of an attack on Hindus, Advocate Dr Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, Secretary General of Bangladesh Jatio Hindu Mohajote Tweeted, “The situation is terrible!! Attacks on 150 families in Shilpara, Cox’s Bazar, widespread vandalism, looting, vandalism of Hatiya in Noakhali, vandalism of idols in municipal Kalimandir, attack Vandalism, molestation of women, 2 people have been found dead in Chandpur.”
In yet another update, advocate Chandra shared the news of the publicity secretary of Chandpur district branch of Bangladesh National Hindu Youth Grand Alliance being hacked to death. (Warning: graphic content)
Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council shared several alerts and updates regarding the violence in the past 24 hours.
“All Hindus in Comilla are being instructed to be alert. Stay in the temple together. We are appealing to the Bangladesh Police for help in nanua dhighir par area,” it had said in a Tweet.
In an emergency notice, the religious affairs ministry said that it was alerted of the news of the presence of the Quran in a Durga Pandal in Cumilla, however, it urged the public to not take the law into their own hands over the incident.
Telecoms Minister Mustafa Jabbar had said that steps were taken to pull down the posts and videos immediately. “We’ve requested the removal of more than 100 Facebook links. We hope they will be blocked soon,” informed Jabbar claiming that the ministry was in touch with Facebook officials.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader assured that the perpetrators behind the incident will not be spared, regardless of their political affiliation.
Heavy security was deployed at several locations all over the country, however, the damage and violence was widespread. Additional Deputy Commissioner (Overall) Shahadat Hossain also informed that a three-member committee has been constituted to investigate the matter further.
As per Quader, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the criminals behind spreading communal attacks and propaganda to be identified and punished as an example.