A combination of political motives and religious sentiment led to the attack on some Hindu residences in Cumilla's Muradnagar upazila Sunday, said Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG, Chattogram Range) Anwar Hossain yesterday.
On Monday morning, police said three cases had been filed against 1,012 individuals over the attack. Though no one was arrested as of Monday afternoon when this report was filed, police apprehended five individuals from the spot at Bangara village of Muradnagar. They were jailed for different durations by a mobile court.
In the aftermath of the attack, Section 144 was imposed on Monday prohibiting mass gatherings and additional forces were deployed in the area. Apart from the Chattogram Range DIG, local lawmaker Yussuf Abdullah Harun, Cumilla Superintendent of Police Syed Nurul Islam, and other senior officials of the local administration visited the location on Monday morning.
On Saturday, protests broke out in Muradnagar's Korbanpur as news spread that two individuals had uploaded Facebook posts hurting religious sentiments. A case was subsequently filed under the Digital Security Act, and police arrested two people in the case that same night. They were sent to jail on Sunday morning.
On Sunday afternoon, the local Union Parishad chairman and mosque clerics held a meeting to ease tensions.
During the meeting, a group of individuals vandalised Hindu residences and carried out arson attacks. Families claimed that gold ornaments and cash had been looted during the attack. No one was injured in the incident.
After visiting the scene, Chattogram Range DIG Anwar Hossain said protests had arisen in many countries over religious issues, and some quarters had taken advantage of the communal tensions to wage an attack here.
"We are assuming that the incident was politically motivated. We are doing our best to arrest the culprits as soon as possible," he added.
In the meantime, local MP Yussuf Abdullah Harun told the journalists that the attack intended to disrupt the long-standing religious harmony in the area.
"There has always been communal harmony in Muradnagar. The administration will take stern action against individuals who have attempted to disrupt it. Police are investigating the incident, and we will also look into the political motives behind it," he said.