Some 289 named and 1,950 unnamed individuals have been accused in seven cases in Chattogram on allegations of attacking puja mandaps and vandalising Durga puja pavilions.
The police have arrested 168 of the identified accused as of Tuesday.
Nezam Uddin, officer-in-charge (OC), Kotwali Police Station, said, the police have identified those involved in the violence by observing the CCTV footage. Most of the accused are shop owners and employees of Teri Bazar, the largest wholesale cloth market in the city.
"Clothing traders Imran Majed alias Rahul and Md Hanif led the procession after Friday prayers in front of the Andarkilla Shahi Jame Masjid, following the alleged "demeaning of the Holy Quran" in Cumilla. These two do not have any political identity," OC Nezam added.
BNP claims most arrests are politically motivated
Concerning the attack in four Upazilas in Chattogram – Shiv-Durga Mandir in Satkania, Napora and Chambal puja mandap in Banshkhali, Sharkarhat puja mandap in Hathazari, and Shahmirpur puja mandap in Karnafuli – police arrested some 84 people as of Tuesday.
Four were arrested from Boalkhali in connection with the Satkania incident. Among the arrested, two are associated with BNP and Jamaat – Jashim Uddin (45), former union Parishad member and vice president of Chattogram South District Juba Dal and Kachhim Uddin (37), Jamaat leader in Amuchia union.
OC of Boalkhali Police Station Md Abdul Karim said the arrested are accused in the recent cases.
But OC of Satkania Anowar Hossain said some 24 people were arrested in connection to the Boalkhali incident but Jashim Uddin and Kachhim Uddin were not included there. They were arrested as unnamed accused, he added.
However, Member Secretary of Chattogram South District Mostaq Ahmed Khan claimed that most of the accused are leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami and they were arrested for political reasons.
Abu Sufian, BNP Convener of Chattogram South District, termed the arrests "shameful" and claimed that the government is making these arrests to harass the political opponents.
OC of Banshkhali police station Kamal Uddin, OC of Jorarganj police station Md Nur Hossain, and OC of Mirsarai police station Mujibur Rahman confirmed that most of the accused that are arrested are indeed associated with BNP and Jamaat-e-Islam.
But they were arrested for their involvement in the attacks and not for political reasons, they added.