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Police shoots four people as mobs vandalize temples in Bangladesh

Durga Puja is celebrated at over 32,000 makeshift puja mandaps

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 15, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 days ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 15, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 days ago

Four people were shot dead on Thursday by Bangladesh police in southern city of Hajiganj as mobs vandalized several Hindu temples across the country.

Officials said that police opened fire on a mob of more than 500 people late Wednesday following a furor over the footage which showed a Quran being placed on the knee of a figurine of the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman during a religious festival.

In the main incident, a group of people attacked a Hindu temple and clashed with police in the southern town of Hajiganj, leaving four dead and nearly two dozen injured, including 15 police officers, local police chief Milon Mahmud told AFP.

On Wednesday, two Hindus were also killed and 150 others injured when at least 80 makeshift temples were attacked by frenzied mobs.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are in fear,” Pramanik said, adding that two more attacks took place on Thursday.

The Hindu temple where the alleged desecration took place was among those assaulted, police inspector Monir Ahmed told AFP, adding that 40 people were arrested at the site.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, who said there were also attempts to ransack homes of some Hindus, vowed to track down the criminals.

In a statement, the government ordered a probe into the violence and “urged everyone to keep religious harmony, peace and security”.

Paramilitary border guards were deployed in 22 of the country’s 64 districts to provide security to festival goers during the nation’s largest Hindu celebration.

Local news site Bdnews24.com, as well as other major Bangladesh news outlets, reported that police had detained a Muslim man named Fayez for allegedly sharing video of the incident.

Police also clashed with hundreds of people in the northeastern Zakiganj town on Wednesday after protesters gathered.

“Several people and a couple of police officers were injured. The mob attacked and vandalised police and local administrators cars. We have deployed extra police,” deputy police chief Lutfar Rahman said.

Also in the north, local media reported temples – as well as Hindu idols – were vandalised in two rural districts.

Authorities also increased security in the southern city of Chittagong, which is home to a sizable Hindu population.

Hindus, who make up some 10 percent of Bangladesh’s 169 million population, have faced sporadic violence in recent years, often sparked by rumours spread on social media.

The Durga Puja, which is being celebrated at more than 32,000 makeshift puja mandaps in Bangladesh, culminates with devotees immersing the idol of the goddess Durga in a river on Friday.

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