Iskcon followers, students protest in Dhaka over violence against Hindus
Followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) and students and teachers from Dhaka University on Monday protested against the latest attack on Hindus in Bangladesh, according to reports.
The new wave of violence took place in a village in Rangpur district’s Pirgonj upazila, about 255km from Dhaka, where dozens of homes of Hindus were burned late on Sunday. According to local reports, the violence came after an image was posted on social media that was perceived as insulting to the country’s Muslim majority.
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The Bangladesh Chhatra League led the protest march, blaming the Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir for the attack, as they blocked a major intersection in Dhaka along with the university teachers and students to demand justice. Several other Hindu groups also joined the peaceful protest at the Shahbagh intersection.
News website bdnews24.com reported citing the district’s superintendent of police Mohammad Qamruzzaman as saying that the police rushed to the fishing village as tension mounted over a rumour that a young Hindu man of the village had ‘dishonoured religion’ in a Facebook post. The attackers set fire to other homes nearby as the police stood guard around the man’s home, the report said.
“Whoever is involved in the incident, will be brought to justice. I have provided some immediate assistance to the victims,” said Pirganj municipal mayor ASM Tajimul Islam Shamim said, according to the Associated Press.
The agency also reported that Asif Hasan, chief government administrator of the Rangpur district, said attackers also stole cash, cattle and other valuables during the attack. Hasan said 42 people were arrested. The Bangladesh ministry of home affairs transferred seven police officials from troubled areas for failing to control the violence.
Sunday’s violence came after several such incidents over the alleged desecration of the Quran at a pandal during Durga Puja festivities in the eastern district of Cumilla. From Cumilla, the violence spread to other areas with attacks on Hindu temples and clashes between mobs and the police in Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj, Feni and other districts. Thousands of people have been arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media, according to reports.
Local media reported that six Hindus were killed in separate attacks, but the figures could not be confirmed independently.
The bdnews24.com reported citing the Bangladesh Ain o Salish Kendra that as many as 3,679 attacks on the minority Hindu community, about 9% of Bangladesh’s 160 million people, took place between January 2013 and September this year.
On Thursday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised to bring to justice the culprits behind the violence, saying anyone involved in the attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues in Comilla will be hunted and won’t be spared.