Hours after a copy of the Quran was found placed at the feet of a Ganesh murti inside a Durga Puja pandal, attacks on multiple Durga Puja pandals and Hindu temples by Muslim crowds took place in Bangladesh in the past two days.
Bangladesh’s Home Minister has called the incident an act of sabotage.
A string of attacks on various Durga Puja pandals and Hindu temples have taken place in Bangladesh in the last two days. Paramilitary forces have been deployed to control the situation.
The attacks began on Wednesday (13 October), hours after a copy of the Quran was found placed at the feet of a murti inside a Durga Puja pandal in Comilla district. Citing blasphemy, Muslim crowds attacked the pandal, triggering a series of similar attacks on pandals as well as temples in various parts of Bangladesh.
IANS reported that local officials told the media that members of hard line Islamic organisation Jamaat-e-Islam had planted the religious book in the temple. The report says that miscreants from the organisation placed the book at the feet of an idol of Ganesh at Nanuyar Dighir Par temple on Tuesday (12 October) night. They clicked pictures of it and ran away. The pictures went viral on social media and angry mobs vandalised various puja pandals.
Shibu Prasad Dutta, general secretary of Comilla Mahanagar Puja Udjapon Committee, has also in the local media as giving the same explanation. Dutta has said that someone placed a copy of the Quran at the pandal when the guard was asleep.
On Wednesday (13 October), Bangladesh’s religious affairs ministry released an emergency notice saying it had come across news that the central religious text of Islam had been 'disrespected' in Comilla, but the ministry urged the public not to take the law into their own hands.
On Thursday (14 October), police detained a local named Fayaz Uddin, who has been found to be the first person to upload the pictures on social media.
a senior police officer Anwar Hossain as saying that the incident was part of a plan to incite tensions. As many as 43 people had been detained by the time the Dhaka Tribune report was published today.
Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has been as saying that he suspects the incident was an act of sabotage.
“I personally don’t believe [a Hindu person] can gather the courage to do it. Let’s see. Now we are trying to keep everything under control. We will find out the facts,” the minister said.
The attacks on Hindu pandals and temples that began at Comilla, soon spread to Chandpur, Chittagong, Chattogram, Chapainawabganj, Kurigram and Cox Bazar.
In Chandpur, the police chief told the media that on Wednesday night, a procession was taken out after prayers. The crowd then launched an attack on the Lakshmi Narayan Akhara Puja pandal in the area.
three killings related to the attacks. Clashes erupted after police tried to stop the mobs from attacking the temples and allegedly open fire. Alamein, Yeasin Hossain Hridoy and Bablu are names of those killed, as per the report.
In Comilla, over 50 people were injured in the clashes.
The Daily Star report says that in Kurigram, a temple was set on fire.
Forces have been reportedly deployed in 22 districts of Bangladesh including Comilla, Narsingdi and Munshiganj.