Police detain 74 attackers of Hindu temples in Bangladesh
Paramilitary troops called in to help avert any unwelcome incident, police on high alert on closing day of Durga Puja fest
Bangladesh has detained at least 74 people on charges of rioting and attacks on Hindu temples in the east-central district of Comilla following the alleged desecration of the Muslims’ sacred Quran during a Hindu religious festival in the city on Wednesday, according to police sources.
"We are on high alert today (Friday) to avert any further deterioration of the situation," Deputy Inspector General of Police in Chattogram Range Anwar Hossain told Anadolu Agency on Friday, citing the closing day of the Hindu community's largest religious festival, Durga Puja.
Tension mounted across the country on Wednesday after a photo of the Quran lying on the thigh of the Hindu deity went viral on social media.
People in different areas of the country protested the incident, storming the streets, while some unruly people attacked Hindu temples, mostly in Comilla.
Protesters clashed with police in the southern district of Chandpur, resulting in at least four deaths and dozens of more injuries.
In order to prevent communal violence during the festival's last day, the government has deployed Border Guard Bangladesh paramilitary troops alongside law enforcement personnel.
The Durga Puja festival will end on Friday with a ceremonial immersion of Hindu Goddess Durga in rivers and water bodies across the country.
According to Hossain, authorities are analyzing CCTV footage and other technology to try to identify all attackers on Hindu temples.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, speaking virtually to the country's Hindu community on the occasion on Thursday evening, pledged that anyone found guilty of inciting violence would face justice and that no one would dare to repeat such crimes in the future.
Hindus are not a minority in the country, but a part of it, and that for a long time, people of all religions and faiths have celebrated religious and other festivals in peace and love, she said.
“Any attempt to destroy this peaceful and harmonious environment would not be tolerated,” she warned, adding that the purported desecration of the Quran and subsequent violence is extremely unfortunate.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud, however, alleged that some vested quarter may have been involved in the incident of demeaning the Quran and spreading the rumor to create anarchy in the country.
Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.