No fresh religious violence took place on Sunday as law enforcers widened up raids on zealots who carried out attacks on Durga Puja, vandalised Hindu temples and ransacked houses and businesses of the religious community.
Until Sunday, nearly 46 cases were filed in several districts accusing at least 50,000 people over the spate of communal clashes in several districts. However, the cases did not mention any specific religious organisation or political party behind the violence that spread after a reported "desecration of the holy Quran" in Cumilla Wednesday.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad's Chattogram chapter yesterday placed a six-point charter of demand, including a ban on using religious and communal topics in politics and polls.
In a separate development on Sunday, Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, urged the government to identify the communal evil forces and award exemplary punishment to the culprits.
While visiting the temples in Noakhali's Chowmuhani that came under attack on Friday, he also demanded compensation for the victims and free treatments of the injured. Besides, the Oikya Parishad leader requested the government to rebuild the temples that had been vandalised.
Rana Dasgupta also demanded removal of Noakhali deputy commissioner and superintendent of police over "their failure in protecting the Hindu community".
On Wednesday, a reported besmirching of the holy Quran stoked communal tensions in Cumilla. The incident sparked a storm on social media as temples and puja celebrations came under attack in several districts. Even on Friday and early Saturday, idols were vandalised in Munshiganj and Kishoreganj as the tensions prevailed.
Apart from beefing up the security measures, the government deployed the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in 35 districts including Dhaka and Sylhet city in aid to the civil administration.
According to the police headquarters, six people have died until Sunday in the violence including four in Chandpur's Hajiganj police-mob clash on Wednesday.
Cops file cases, widen raids
Kamrul Ahsan, public relations officer at the police headquarters, told The Business Standard that police stations in the relevant districts were yet to inform the headquarters of the numbers of cases and arrests since Wednesday last week.
However, according to the inputs by The Business Standard district correspondents suggest at least 46 cases were filed until Sunday evening. In most cases, police logged the lawsuits on charges of carrying out attacks on cops, obstructing public employees in discharging government orders, vandalism and hurting religious sentiments.
In Dhaka, police filed two cases over the Friday clashes with mullahs in Paltan area. In these cases, 4,000 people have been accused of obstructing public employees and carrying out attacks on cops.
Police have already arrested 21 individuals including Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan factional Ameer Zafrullah Khan.
Over the Friday clash in Chattogram, around 600 people have been accused in police cases for carrying out attacks on police and hurting religious sentiment.
Kotwali police Officer-in-Charge Nezamuddin said they were analysing closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage, videos and photos to identify the Friday attackers.
Five cases have been filed in Cumilla as police arrested 40 people in those cases until Sunday.
Comilla Kotwali Police Officer-in-Charge Anwarul Azim said police filed four cases on charge of the reported desecration of the Quran and vandalising idols, while the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) filed the fifth case.
In Chandpur's Hajiganj, four cases were logged over the Wednesday violence. More than 2,000 people were accused in these cases. Two cases were filed for attacking police while two vandalism cases were filed by the temple committees.
Sohel Mahmud, additional superintendent of police, said some 15 people were arrested in those cases until Sunday.
In Feni, RAB arrested one Ahnaf Touseef Labib, 22, on early Sunday on charge of orchestrating and inciting religious violence on Saturday.
In Noakhali's Chaumuhani, Iskcon temple authorities filed a murder case over the Friday attack that left two dead. Besides, there were cases on charge of attacking temples and vandalism.
A case was filed in Kishoreganj for hurting religious sentiments, vandalism and theft over the Friday attack at a temple at Kadim Maizhati village in the district.
Officer-in-Charge of Karimganj Police Station Mominul Islam said nine people have been named in the case while there are 30-35 unnamed have also been accused. Police have arrested four individuals until Sunday.
Hindu communities, several organisations and civil society members had been continuing protests Sunday demanding justice over the communal attacks.
At a human chain in Chattogram, the divisional Iskcon committee yesterday demanded a speedy trial of culprits who carried out communal violence in different places in the country.
The protestors demanded speedy trial tribunal to dispose of the temple attack cases, rebuilding of all damaged temples and withdrawal of the public officers who failed to protect the religious community.
Earlier at a press briefing in Chattogram, Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad Chattogram chapter said they will form a human chain on 18 October at Chattogram Press Club, observe a hunger strike on 19 October, stage a demonstration on 21 October, and carry out a candlelight vigil on 22 October.
Besides, the Hindu community will observe a mass hanger strike and sit-in on 23 October across the country.
Condemnations pour in
Projonmo 71, an organisation run by children of martyrs, has strongly condemned the recent attacks on the Hindu community and puja celebrations. In a media release Sunday, the platform said "such communal attack is a blow to the sacrifice of the 30 lakh martyrs in the Liberation War".
Several Sylhet-based socio-cultural organisations yesterday also protested the attack. The organisations demanded ensuring safety of the religious minorities in Bangladesh.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) called on the government Sunday to ensure the safety of Hindu businessmen and their businesses entities.