Bangladesh: Hindus, Muslims hold separate protest rallies; six dead in communal clashes so far

·3-min read

Protests erupted for the second day in Bangladesh's capital on Saturday, amid a wave of violence against local Hindus following a viral social media image perceived as insulting to the country's Muslim majority.

So far two Hindus and at least four Muslims have died in the ensuing violence.

The protests

Some 10,000 protesters €" many of them carrying banners of Islamist political parties €" took to the streets outside the main mosque of the capital, Dhaka, a day after demonstrations on the same site ended in clashes with police.

The crowd chanted "Down with the enemies of the Islam" and "Hang the culprits".

Photos showing a copy of the Quran €"Islam's holy book€"at the feet of a statue in a Hindu temple in the eastern district of Cumilla triggered the protests and incidents of vandalism at Hindu temples across Bangladesh.

"We ask the government to arrest those who defamed the Quran by putting it at the feet of an idol in Cumilla," Mosaddek Billah Al Madani, president of Bangladesh's Islami Movement. He added that protesters demanded "the death sentence" for those responsible for the images.

Separately, in a nearby intersection about 1,000 Hindus protested the attacks on temples and the killing of two Hindu devotees in another district where several temples were vandalised by Muslim mobs. Police said at least two Hindus were killed in Friday's attacks.

Communal tensions have risen as the minority Hindus celebrate their largest religious festival, the Durga Puja. About nine percent of Bangladesh's 160 million are Hindu.

Safety measures

Bangladesh authorities have imposed a nationwide security vigil while officials said that initial investigations have thrown up crucial evidence against the perpetrators of violence against the Durga Puja celebrations of the minority Hindu community.

The paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has expanded its vigil to 34 out of 64 administrative districts in the country.

The elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said it expects to arrest some of the key perpetrators of the violence which took place in the last three days.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters: "We expect developments of the investigations in the next one or two days."

Response in India

While the Central Government took the position that the events in Bangladesh were a result of a coordinated" and "orchestrated" move to stir up communal tensions across "multiple locations", the Opposition has attacked the Centre over the issue.

The Trinamool Congress has lashed out at the Centre, urging it to play an effective role and not remain a mute spectator to the communal violence in neighbouring Bangladesh. TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that the party wants the safety of minorities in both India and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of ISKCON, Kolkata, Radharaman Das has condemned the attack on the ISKCON temple in Bangladesh and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to end the cycle of violence.

"We've written a letter to United Nations and appealed them to condemn this and send a delegation to Bangladesh," said Radharaman Das.

With input from agencies

Also read:

Decoding why minorities in Bangladesh and Pakistan continue to face persecution

Also See: Bangladesh: As temple vandalism continues Bangladesh minorities call for countrywide hunger strike; cops book over 4,000 people

Navratri 2021: Check out the colours list with dates and their significance

Laser light show at Kolkata's 'Burj Khalifa' pandal stopped over COVID-19 fears

Read more on World by Firstpost.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting