14 Hindu temples vandalised in Bangladesh to ‘create unrest’, police says
Bangladesh police have promised strict action against those who vandalised idols of Hindu gods at 14 temples in the Muslim-majority country’s north western Thakurgaon district.
Unidentified people carried out targeted attacks under the cover of darkness on Saturday night, vandalising 14 idols in the same number of temples in Thakurgaon, said the district’s general secretary Prabir Kumar Gupta.
Thakurgaon’s deputy commissioner Md Mahbubur Rahman called the vandalism of temples “henious acts” and said those carrying out the attacks wanted to create communal unrest.
Deputy commissioner Rahman, who visited the Hindu temples on Sunday, said “no religions allow such heinous acts” and added that the attackers must be punished, reported the Dhaka Tribune.
Bidyanath Barman, a Hindu community leader at Baliadangi, said miscreants desecrated the idols.
“Some idols were broken and thrown into the pond. We want the administration to investigate the incident properly and arrest the culprits,” he said.
Mohammad Jahangir Hossain,a police superintendent, said the attacks were targeted but explained that investigations were still on to identify those behind the attacks.
“It clearly appears to be a case of an orchestrated attack to disrupt the peaceful situation of the country,” he told reporters.
The incident has sparked outrage in the country’s Hindu community. The country of 165 million people, which shares its borders with India, has a Hindu population of less than 9 per cent.
Tapan Kumar Ghosh, general secretary of a district council for organising festivals, visited one of the temples that was attacked.
He added that the Haribasar temple in Sindurpindi area was a temple that held major significance for a number of people in the country.
“Many people come here regularly. All the idols in this temple have been vandalised. This is very sad and appalling. We want a fair investigation into this incident,” he said.
Attacks on Hindus and other religious minorities are not uncommon in the south Asian country.
In the lead up to Durga puja, Bangladesh’s biggest Hindu festival, at least seven people were left dead following communal riots in the Comilla area.
The clashes were triggered on 13 October in several districts after a video circulated on social media showing a Quran being placed inside a makeshift venue created for annual Durga Puja celebrations.
Hundreds of Hindu homes, shops and temples were vandalised across the country despite prime minister Sheikh Hasina condemning the incident the very next day.
According to estimates provided by a Deutsche Welle report based on data by Ain o Salish Kendra, a Bangladesh human rights group, there have been over 3,000 attacks on Hindus since 2013.