Bangladesh: Hindu village attacked, houses vandalised by hardline Islamist group

at 6:06 pm

New Delhi (NVI): Authorities in Bangladesh have again turned a blind eye on atrocities on minority Hindus in the country as in another such incident, thousands of Muslim extremists from hardline Islamist organisation Hefazat-e-Islam yesterday attacked a Hindu village in Shalla Upazila of Sunamganj district, according to local media reports.

At least 70-80 houses were damaged in the incident that took place after a Hindu man from Noagaon in Shalla Upazila allegedly posted on Facebook, criticising Hefazat-e-Islam’s Mawlana Mufti Mamunul Haque, as the local Muslim leader opposed installing the sculpture of Bangabandhu on Tuesday, reported the Dhaka Tribune.

Mawlana Mufti Mamunul Haque, the Joint-Secretary General of the hardline Islamist organisation had attended a conference at Derai Upazila on Monday where he gave the speech. Amir Allama Junaid Babunagari and several other leaders had also attended the event, as per the Dhaka Tribune report.

After this, Hefazat leaders instigated a mob on the basis of the Facebook post, that triggered the violence. According to the report, the mob attacked the village with makeshift weapons yesterday.

Hefazat leaders had already staged a protest in the area on Tuesday night, accusing the youth and his social media post of inciting religious violence, reports the Bangladesh news portal.

The police had arrested the youth on same Tuesday night to bring the situation under the control. However, a huge mob of followers of Hefazat leader Mamunul Haque from Kashipur, Nachni, Chandipur and some other Muslim-populated villages gathered in Noagaon village at around 9am yesterday and attacked the homes of local Hindus.

Many local Hindus had to flee their homes to save their lives. Seeing this as an opportunity, the followers of Hefazat-e-Islam entered the village, ransacked and looted many houses.

The police reached the spot later but till then, the damage had been done and the mob had already left.

Surprisingly, rather than arresting members of the Islamist faction who indulged in violence, the Hindu man has been arrested and handed over to the law enforcement for “insulting” Mawlana Mamunul Haque on Facebook. Moreover, legal action is being taken against him.

Such incidents of attacks on Hindus and other religious minorities are not not new in the Muslim-majority country. This time, it comes just days ahead of Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh on March 26 when he will visit Matua Temple at Orakandi in Gopalganj district.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Sheikh Hasina’s invite to visit Bangladesh on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary. PM Modi will be visiting the neighbouring country on March 26 and 27.

Prominent Bangladeshi writer and activist Taslima Nasreen also criticised the Sheikh Hasina government of failing to control such incidents.

“Yesterday houses and mandirs of Hindus were vandalized and looted by Muslims in Bangladesh. No case was filed, no criminal has been arrested. Hasina was busy with luxurious celebration of birth centenary of her father,” she tweeted.

The act has been condemned by several other human rights forums and activists as well.