About 24,000 accused, 683 arrested in 16 districts over attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh

Insight Online News

By Mir Afroz Zaman

Dhaka, Oct 25 : Since the Cumilla incident came into light, there have been several attacks on Hindu homes, puja mandaps and temples in 16 districts of Bangladesh leading to 23,911 people been accused in 85 cases and 683 arrested.

While several among the accused and arrested persons are leaders and activists of BNP-Jamaat and Chhatra League, there are also many who are not affiliated to any political party. However, most of the 24,000 accused are anonymous.

Several names of people, who are associated with political parties, have been included in the list of accused in cases filed in Chandpur, Noakhali, Rangpur, Chittagong and Feni.

Prothom Alo’s local correspondents collaborated to produce this investigative report.

One among the accused is a BCL leader from Rangpur.

In the cases of vandalism and clashes with police in Chandpur Hajiganj pujamandapa, Jamaat leader and former Shibir president Kamal Uddin Abbasi (40) has been arrested. He has confessed to being involved in the incident and testified in court.

Chandpur Superintendent of Police Milon Mahmud said, “10 cases have been registered so far in the Hajiganj incident. About 5,000 people were accused in these cases. Since the incident, 33 people, including Jamaat leader Kamal Uddin, have been arrested. All of them are now in jail.”

Sub-Inspector (SI) of Chaumuhani Police outpost Jamal Hossain had filed a case in connection with vandalism and attack on police in Begumganj, Noakhali. BNP central vice chairman Barkatullah has also been made an accused in the case.

Manjurul Azim alias Sumon, president of the district Juba Dal, and 10-12 leaders and activists of the party have been made as the third accused in Begumganj case.

According to the plaintiff’s statement, Barkatullah, a former MP from Noakhali-3 constituency and central vice chairman of the BNP, was rumored to have fueled the attack by spreading propaganda through his loyal local leaders and activists and the public.

However, Manjurul Azim, the accused, claimed that he left for Dhaka after appearing in court the day before the attack and vandalism at Chaumuhani. He has been in Dhaka since then and later he came to know that he named as one of the accused in the attack and vandalism at Chaumuhani on October 15.

In this regard, district BNP general secretary lawyer Abdur Rahman said since the incident in Chaumuhani, the police has been filing one case after another against BNP leaders and activists.

“The real culprits who attacked the temple are hiding. BNP-Jamaat leaders and activists are being harassed,” he said.

Meanwhile, at least 60 people have been arrested in connection with attack, looting and arson of a Hindu community house in Barakarimpur area of Majhipara village in Rangpur’s Pirganj. Among them is a leader of Chhatra League and a muezzin of the mosque.

They both made confessional statements in court on Sunday. In his deposition, Saikat Mandal admitted their involvement in the violent incident in Pirganj. He is a post-graduate student in the philosophy department of Carmichael College and was recently expelled from Chhatra League.

Pirganj Circle Assistant Superintendent of Police Kamruzzaman said, police have now arrested 64 people in three separate cases under the Digital Security Act and one in arson, vandalism and looting in connection with the violence in Pirganj.

Chittagong South District Jamaat Amir Zafar Sadeq, former Banshkhali Upazila BNP general secretary Mojibur Rahman, Hathazari Upazila BNP joint convener Mahbubul Alam Chowdhury and other BNP and Jamaat leaders and activists were accused in seven separate cases of attacking puja mandaps and vandalizing arches in Chittagong city and district.

Police also arrested 10 leaders and activists of the Youth Student Rights Council led by former VP of DAKSU Nurul Haque in a case of vandalism of a gate at the puja mandapa of JM Sen Hall in Chittagong city.

The accused were identified with the help of CCTV footage.

In Feni, 650 people have been accused in four cases and of these, 18 people have been arrested. Among them one a member of a youth group and the other is a leader of a volunteer group.

Feni Sadar Model Police Station Inspector (Investigation) Monir Hossain said, “Investigation is underway.”

Investigating officers in the case are investigating whether the arrested accused have political affiliation, he said.

However, Feni district BNP member secretary Alal Uddin has claimed police had arrested Chhedul Islam, joint convener of the Feni Municipal Juba Dal and Azim Sharif, joint convener of the Municipal Swechchhasebak Dal, which has caused panic among other leaders and party workers.

He has demanded the arrest and punishment of the real culprits involved in the incident through proper investigation of the incident.

Till now, 650 people have been accused in four cases in this district and 18 people have been arrested.

A case has been filed against a disabled person for allegedly attacking the Dhuriail Sri Sri Kazirpar Public Temple in Barthi Union of Barisal’s Gournadi Upazila.

According to a statement made in the case, it has been mentioned that the disabled person had vandalised the idol and fled.

The disabled person’s name is Rafiqul Islam alias Shaheen (58), resident of Dhuriail village of Barthi union of Gournadi upazila. He is a member of Upazila BNP.

It has been alleged that Barthi Union Awami League president Abdur Razzak had filed a case with the general secretary of the temple committee as he is a BNP leader. However, the Awami League leader has denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, Rafiqul Islam said, “I am a physically handicapped person by birth. My left leg is short. I can’t walk properly. However, a case has been filed against me along with names of 50 to 60 terrorists for attacking the temple, vandalising it and looting goods worth Tk 3 lakh.”

Dulu Roy, president of the Upazila Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Welfare Unity Front, and Manik Mukherjee, general secretary, said, “Involving a disabled person in the case of attack on temple is inhumane. He should be released from the case on humanitarian grounds.”

In addition to listing names of 42 people involved in the attack on two puja mandals in the Hawladarpara area of ​​Sylhet city on October 15, the Jalalabad police of Sylhet metropolis had filed a case accusing another 200 to 250 people.

Police arrested 12 accused on the night of October 16. Jalalabad police OC Nazmul Huda Khan said, “The police did not find any involvement of any of the 12 arrested persons with any political party.”

A case of arson, assault, vandalism, explosion of cocktails and incitement on Facebook has been registered on October 13 in Cumilla city for insulting the Holy Quran at Nanua Dighi.

In these cases, there are 92 accused, including three Jamaat-backed councilors of Comilla City Corporation, and 56 people have been arrested.

Kotwali Model police station OC Anwarul Azim said no political leader has been arrested in these cases so far.

However, police have arrested 21 people in a case for vandalizing, setting fire and beating the idol of Rakshamayi Kali Mandir in Thakurpara Kalitala area of Comilla city.

Though Golam Kibria, councilor of ward 1 of Comilla City Corporation, Mosharraf Hossain, councilor of ward 6 and Ekram Hossain, councilor of ward 7 have been accused in the case, none of them have been arrested.

Highest number of cases and arrests have been made in Noakhali and Chittagong. The number of accused is also the highest in these two places.

In Noakhali, 7,981 people have been accused in 24 cases and 162 people have been arrested. In Chittagong, 3,650 people are accused in 6 cases. Of these, 201 people have been arrested.

According to information received from different police stations in Noakhali district, miscreants attacked and vandalized various temples, puja mandaps, shops and houses from October 13 to 15. Till last Friday, 10 cases have been registered in Begumganj, 10 in Hatia and one each in Chatkhil, Sonaimuri, Senbagh and Kabirhat police stations.

There have been seven separate cases of attack on puja mandals and vandalism of arches in Chittagong city and district. In these cases, the names of 350 people were mentioned and 3,500 unidentified people were accused.


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