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Puja pandals, temples attacked in Bangladesh over ‘besmirching’ of Quran, govt promises action

The attacks followed communal tension in Chattogram over an alleged incident of besmirching the Quran. Ruling Awami League leader said those involved won’t be spared.

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New Delhi: Several instances of vandalism at Durga Puja pandals and attacks on temples have been reported in the last few days in Bangladesh following communal tension in Chattogram (earlier known as Chittagong) over an alleged incident of besmirching the Quran.

According to a UNI report, several incidents of vandalism were reported in Chattogram’s Cumilla over the alleged besmirching incident Wednesday. 

Earlier, the Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council claimed a Durga idol was vandalised in Kotwali, Chattogram, Monday, following which the police have arrested one accused. Another statue was vandalised in Rustampur village in Dhaka the same day. Another incident was reported from Joypurhat.

Moreover, temples have reportedly been attacked in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chattogram’s Banshkhali, Chapainawabganj’s Shibganj and Cox’s Bazar’s Pekua.

The ruling Awami League’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said neither those who attacked the Durga idols nor those involved in the desecration of Quran will be spared, UNB reported.

“It’s an act of an evil communal force, and those who attack Hindu temples won’t be spared either, even if they belong to any party”, Quader was quoted as saying while addressing a Mahashtami event in Dhaka Wednesday.

The trigger 

The communal tension reportedly started when a Quran copy was placed at a Durga Puja pandal in Nanua Dighir Par in Cumilla early Wednesday.

The Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council shared the screenshot of a local resident’s post on Facebook, which alleged that the incident was planned to create communal disharmony. 

On Wednesday, the council wrote: “We would like to say to all Muslim brothers, do not believe the rumors. We respect the Qur’an. There is no need for Qur’an in Durga Puja. This is someone conspiring to cause a riot. There will be a fair investigation. Please don’t attack any more temples & Hindus”.

The government has placed eight units of Border Guard Bangladesh in various parts of the Chattogram district to maintain law and order.

State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan has also warned people not to take law into their own hands, saying the local administration will investigate what really happened in Cumilla.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation in Cumilla. The local administration has been instructed to investigate what really happened. Anyone involved in destroying religious harmony must be brought under the ambit of law and arrangements be made to give proper punishment,” he said.

Also read: Bhagwat repeats Hindu-Muslim ‘bhai-bhai’ pitch, says only pattern of worship is different


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