Violence in Bangladesh against the country’s Hindu minority, which began last week over alleged desecration of the Quran during Durga Puja festivities in Cumilla, continues unabated as a mob attacked houses belonging to members of the community at a village in Rangpur’s Pirganj Upazila. The trigger for the violence, police said, was a Facebook post with “religiously abusive content,” believed to have been made by a Hindu man.
According to Mohammad Sadequl Islam, the chairman of the local Union Parishad, around 65 houses were torched during the attack on Sunday night, resulting in at least 20 houses being completely burnt down. The attackers, Islam alleged, were from the local units of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Meanwhile, speaking on the attack, senior police official Mohammad Kamruzzaman said that forces arrived at the spot as soon as tensions mounted, and guarded the house of the Hindu man. “We were able to save his house but the attackers torched some 15 to 20 nearby houses,” the officer said.
The fire services arrived at the spot at around 10pm, and were at ground zero until 3am on Monday. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
The attacks targeting Hindus continue in Bangladesh despite the country’s top leadership taking note. While Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to punish perpetrators regardless of their religion, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said on Sunday that the attacks on Durga Puja pandals were “pre-planned.” Those found involved will be given “exemplary” punishment, Khan said.