New Delhi: Issuing a stern warning to those involved in the vandalism of Durga Puja pandals and temples in Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Thursday said the perpetrators will be hunted down and punished.
“The incidents in Comilla are being thoroughly investigated. Nobody will be spared. It doesn’t matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished,” said Hasina, while speaking at an event at the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka.
She also assured the Hindu community that they enjoy the same rights as any other community in Bangladesh.
“Different religions and cultures reside in Bangladesh with harmony and celebrate different festivals together. Religion is for individuals, but festivals are for all, and we enjoy all festivals together. But some miscreants attempt to destroy this harmony … those involved cannot escape,” she said.
Stern message from PM Sheikh Hasina to reassure Hindus: #Bangladesh is a non-communal country, everybody is free to follow their religion and festivals. “We will hunt down those behind Comilla (attacks on Durga Puja mandaps) violence. They cannot escape.”
— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) October 15, 2021
“This land belongs to you, you have your rights. Don’t consider yourselves as minorities, you should have this confidence,” the prime minister added.
Hasina also urged India to be vigilant against escalation of communal attacks in the country.
“We expect that nothing happens there (in India) which could influence any situation in Bangladesh affecting our Hindu community here,” the PM said.
Vandalism in Comilla, tensions across Bangladesh
Communal tensions in Bangladesh’s Chattogram (earlier known as Chittagong) reportedly flared when a copy of the Quran was placed at a Durga Puja pandal in Nanua Dighir Par in Comilla early Wednesday.
Since then, several incidents of vandalism have been reported from various places in the country. The Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council claimed a Durga idol was vandalised in Kotwali, Chattogram, Monday, following which the police arrested one accused.
Another statue was vandalised in Rustampur village in Dhaka the same day, and another incident was reported from Joypurhat.
The vandalism also incited violence in the Hajiganj sub-district in Chandpur, bordering Comilla, Wednesday, which led to the deaths of three people while several others were injured. A fourth person succumbed to his wounds later.
(Edited by Rachel John)