Located 107 kilometres from the capital, Brahmanbaria has its own glory in culture, harmony and devotion to the Bangla language and literature. The Titas river flows through it.
The district is the birthplace of a number of renowned personalities, including Ustad Alauddin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Dhirendranath Datta, Adwaita Mallabarman, and Al Mahmud.
Its heritage in culture, literature and even in the 1952 language movement was never remembered when its cultural institutions came under attack and were vandalised and torched many times in the past decade.
The district again hit the headlines after members of the Hefazat-e-Islam were allegedly attacked during their 28 March strike. Various government and non-government establishments were vandalised. Signs of devastation committed by Hefazat activists could be seen everywhere.
The heat of the fire that Hefazat activists had set to renowned musician Ustad Alauddin Khan's memorial a day earlier could still be felt. Parts of the establishment were burnt to ashes, including the stage of the concert hall and various musical instruments kept in the museum. The remains of the burnt materials today bear the ugly signs of the mayhem.
Supporters of the strike vandalised Brahmanbaria Railway Station, Khantihata Highway Police Station, the Alauddin Sangeetangan, Sadar upazila assistant commissioner's (land) office, Water Development Board office, municipality office, Alauddin Khan Municipal Auditorium, district council office, Bank Asia's main branch, Dhirendranath Datta Bhasha Chattar and many more cultural and historical places.
But this was not the first time these places of cultural interest were attacked and vandalised. On 12 January 2016, hundreds of agitated madrasa students staged a daylong protest in Brahmanbaria town over the death of a fellow student. Property worth at least Tk100 crore was damaged in the violence.
The violence began in the evening on 11 January over a trivial incident. Brahmanbaria railway station, Ustad Alauddin Khan Music Hall and the offices of several cultural organisations at Dhirendranath Datta Bhasha Chattar were extensively damaged. 13,000 people were accused in 13 cases filed over the incident.
But the masterminds of the attacks have not been arrested even in five years. Police have not been able to submit the charge sheets yet. They said they had arrested some suspects involved in the violence after watching video footage captured during the incidents. The police also told the media they would press charges against the masterminds of the attacks and would bring them to book.
A similar promise has been made this time as well.
Brahmanbaria police have already filed 19 cases, arrested 21 persons, and accused more than 20,000 people of vandalism and arson.
During his visit to Brahmanbaria, Benazir Ahmed, Inspector General of Police (IGP), handed over compensation to Alauddin Sangeetangan, Brahmanbaria Press Club and some other victims. He said police would bring to book the culprits behind the attacks in the name of strike and peaceful protests.
But local cultural activists and eminent citizens were not satisfied with the promise made by the police chief.
Monir Hossain, central organising secretary of Bangladesh Abritti Samannay Parishad and director of Titas Abritti Sangathan, told The Business Standard that police had vowed to take stern action after the 2016 incidents but no visible steps had been taken yet.
"This is an example of 'justice delayed, justice denied'," he added.
Shomes Ranjan, president of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad's Brahmanbaria district committee, said, "How can we believe that the police will take action this time? The investigators are the same police who could not file charge sheets in the cases filed over the Nasirnagar attack or the 2016 attacks."
"We are still in fear. The same story will be repeated in the future too and the only reason is that the perpetrators are not being punished," he added.
When asked about impartial investigations by police, the IGP said the law enforcers would not tolerate indiscipline and nonprofessional conduct of policemen in the force.
Benazir Ahmed also said the police were probing whether the Brahmanbaria police administration had been negligent in tackling the incidents.
A journalist asked him whether delayed justice led to repeated vandalism and extremism in the same places. The IGP replied, "We will take appropriate action once the investigation is done."
Manzurul Alam, general secretary of Sur Samrat Alauddin Sangeetangan, told The Business Standard that Brahmanbaria's cultural institutions were targeted whenever any violence occurred.
"The attackers are getting impunity because of the complexity of the criminal justice system. How long will we have to wait for justice?"
Wishing anonymity, another cultural activist said they were not satisfied with the promises made by the police and the administration that nothing wrong would happen again.
"How will the administration protect us when they could not even protect themselves?" he added.
ABM Moshiuzzaman, assistant commissioner (land) of Brahmanbaria Sadar, said protesters had set fire to 150-200-year-old land documents and that might cause people over 50 years of suffering.
Police also fear that such untoward incidents may happen again. Thousands of personnel of different law enforcement agencies are using riot cars and armoured personnel carriers to patrol the city round the clock to ensure security.
A police official said the law enforcers were talking to individual constables to have their confidence restored in ensuring strong security for citizens.