Two Hindu men killed, temple vandalized in Bangladesh | Conflict news

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Bangladeshi police have arrested at least 300 suspects after two Hindu men were killed and temples vandalized following riots sparked by the alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book during a Hindu religious festival last week.

Violence erupted across Bangladesh after a photo was widely circulated on social media on Wednesday, showing the Koran placed on the lap of a Hindu deity during the celebration of the Durga Puja festival in the eastern district of Cumilla.

Angry crowds attacked Hindu temples and clashed with police in various parts of Bangladesh in the following days, leaving at least six people, including two Hindus, dead and more than 100 injured.

Muslims take part in a protest outside Dhaka’s Baitul Mukarram mosque [Abdul Goni/AP]

The police said that more than 200 attackers struck and knife to death an executive member of the temple committee in the city of Begmanj in the southern part where members of the Hindu society were preparing to implement the last rites at the 10-day Durga Puja festival.

So far, six have been killed by force

On Saturday morning, the body of another Hindu man was found near a pond next to the temple, district police chief Shahidul Islam told AFP.

“Two men have died since yesterday’s attack. We work to find the culprits, he says.

Hindu society makes up about 10 percent of Bangladesh’s 165 million people.

At least four others were killed late Wednesday when police opened fire on a crowd of about 500 people who attacked a Hindu temple in Hajiganj, one of several cities affected by the disturbance.

Violence also erupted in the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong, prompting police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of Muslim Muslim protesters.

High-speed mobile phone services were shut down in a blatant attempt to prevent the spread of violence.

Bangladeshi media reported on Sunday that at least 20 Hindu homes were burned in the Pirganj district of Rangpur.

Tensions in the area increased after allegations that a Hindu man’s post on Facebook disgraced Islam.

The incident came a day after about 10,000 protesters – many of them with flags of Islamist political parties – took to the streets outside Dhaka’s main mosque.

The audience sang “Down with the enemies of Islam” and “Hang the culprits”.

Thousands of Muslims take part in a protest against an alleged insult to Islam outside the country’s main Baitul Mukarram mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Saturday, October 16, 2021 [Abdul Goni/AP]

“We ask the government to arrest those who slandered the Koran by putting it at the foot of an idol in Cumilla,” said Mosaddek Billah al-Madani, president of Bangladesh’s Islamist movement. He added that protesters demanded a “death sentence” for those responsible for the photos.

Separately, at a nearby intersection, about 1,000 Hindus protested against the attacks on temples and the killing of two Hindu followers in another district where several temples were vandalized by Muslim bullies.

At least 150 Hindus were injured across the country, community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik told the AFP news agency and at least 80 makeshift temples had been attacked.

Authorities, who did not confirm the figures, said they had deployed extra security including a paramilitary border guard to check for any unrest.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with leaders of the Hindu community on Thursday and promised strict action.

So far, about 90 people have been arrested. We will also chase all brains, says Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan.

In the port city of Chittagong, Bangladesh’s Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council has announced a sit-in and hunger strike from October 23 in protest of the attacks on Hindus, the Press Trust of India reported on Sunday.

The protests will take place in Dhaka’s Shahbagh and Chittagong’s Andarkilla, said a forum spokesman, who observed a six-hour strike in Chittagong on Saturday before the announcement came.

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