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Fresh attack on a temple as tension remains in Bangladesh

Shops and houses of Hindus were allegedly vandalised when the mob took out a rally in Noakhali’s Begumganj Upazila, Dhaka Times reported quoting superintendent of police (Circle Begumganj) Md Shah Imran.
Border Guard Bangladesh personnel stand guard as devotees prepare to immerse a clay idol of the Goddess Durga in the Buriganga River on the final day of the Durga Puja festival in Dhaka. (AFP)
Published on Oct 16, 2021 12:43 AM IST
Agencies | , Dhaka

At least one person was killed and 17 others were injured when a mob protesting against the alleged desecration of the Quran at a pandal during Durga Puja festivities attacked the properties of Hindus in Bangladesh’s Noakhali district on Friday. An Iskcon temple was also vandalised as protests continued for the third day in the country.

Shops and houses of Hindus were allegedly vandalised when the mob took out a rally in Noakhali’s Begumganj Upazila, Dhaka Times reported quoting superintendent of police (Circle Begumganj) Md Shah Imran.

The victim has been indentified as 42-year-old Jatan Kumar, Imran said.

Separately, Iskcon, a religious Hindu organisation, alleged its temple in Noakhali and devotees were attacked by the mob.

“ISKCON temple & devotees were violently attacked today by a mob in Noakhali, Bangladesh. Temple suffered significant damage & the condition of a devotee remains critical,” it tweeted with pictures showing the damage in the premises.

As many as 17 people, including the officer-in-charge of Begumganj police station Kamruzzaman Sikder, were injured in the attacks in Noakhali, the SP said.

Elsewhere in Bangladesh, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as thousands of protesters took to the streets in the country’s two main cities on Friday, authorities said.

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The protests began on Wednesday after images purportedly showed a copy of the Quran — Islam’s holy book — on the knee of an idol during Durga Puja celebrations in Cumilla district, triggering incidents of vandalism at Hindu temples across other parts of the country.

At least four people were killed late Wednesday when police opened fire on a crowd of around 500 people attacking a temple in Hajiganj, one of the towns hit by the disturbances.

On Friday, up to 2,500 Muslim worshippers gathered outside Baitul Mukarram Masjid, Bangladesh’s largest mosque in central Dhaka, demanding “exemplary punishment” for the “desecration” of the Quran.

Sajjad Hossain, a deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said several people were injured after the police charged with batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd, which was attempting to break through a police barricade.

Sazzadur Rahman, Dhaka’s deputy police commissioner, said at least five officers were injured and three protesters were held.

In Chittagong, meanwhile, police fired 50 rounds of blanks to disperse hundreds of Muslim protesters who hurled missiles at officers guarding a makeshift temple, local police official Bijoy Basak said.

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