Ten-year-old Mamta Barsha exits the house she is currently staying at and hugs her father, who is standing just outside.
"Will I not go to school?" she asks. When it dawns on her that, no, she would not be going to school, Mamta begins to cry. She does not wail; it is more of a whimper, a resignation.
"They burned all my books. Do they not want me to study? Why did they burn our house down?" she asks, more insistent with each question. Mamta does not know exactly who "they" are, but she knows what has happened to her and her family.
Nani Gopal, her father, has no answers on this day.
His house was in Majhipara village in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur, right in the Hindu-majority area of Bara Karimpur, the centre of Sunday's attack.
Their residence was located beside a temple, a blessing on most days, but perhaps not on this one.
Nani Gopal's house, furniture and everything were burnt to ashes.
"I own nothing anymore but a lungi. They came to kill us. I fled with my wife and daughter. I have lost everything and have become destitute. Even my child's books were burned," Gopal says.
"I have been living on the food my younger brother gave for the last two days. His house was attacked but was not damaged much. I am staying there with my family members at present," he added.
On Sunday, a group of miscreants vandalised and set fire to around 20 homes in Bara Karimpur on the pretext of a religiously-motivated post on Facebook.
Temples, grocery stores and battery-powered rickshaw vans were all set on fire. Houses, cattle and fishing nets were burnt. Those who took offence at the slight to their religion also went about looting money, gold ornaments, electronics and other things from their victims.
Locals said during and after the attack, women, children and men fled to the nearby paddy fields and bamboo orchards, where they hid.
They only returned on Monday morning after police and the Rapid Action Battalion assured them of safety. By then, however, what they returned to was only carnage and destruction.
At present, many of these villagers are living under the open sky. Some have taken refuge in local temples. The only thing they have in common are horror stories.
Bashona Rani, who is expecting her first child, recalls cowering against a wall of her house, as mindless violence and arson were being unleashed outside. While her neighbours managed to flee to the paddy fields, their only sanctuary that night, miscreants entered her house before she had the chance to escape.
Before she could even plead, they kicked her in the abdomen. Then they robbed the house.
"They kicked my seven-month pregnant daughter-in-law in the abdomen and looted furniture, cash and jewellery. We could not identify anyone as they had their faces covered," said Bashona's mother-in-law Kandri Bala.
The same story, with a few alterations in details, could be heard from most of the 70 Hindu families living in the village. Most of them are fishermen by profession. Their fishing nets, kept next to a nearby beel (water body) had also all been burnt.
Everything was burned.
A silent, complicit administration
Five minutes before the miscreants descended on the village, the power in the area went out. Plunged into complete darkness, it was hard to understand what was going on. Screams pierced through the air sometimes. A light could be seen in the distance, growing in intensity.
Vadoi Rani Das, who lost her husband a few years ago, lives in the village with two sons. Asked what happened, she said, "What did they not do? They broke the locks and looted all our belongings, set fire to the nets and even took away the handle of the tube well. What were the administration doing?"
The criminals began setting fire to the homes around 9:30pm and this continued for a full 40 minutes.
Shariful Islam, a resident of the Muslim settlement east of Bara Karimpur, witnessed the violence that day.
"I suddenly got news of the fire. When I went there, I saw the village burning. Hindu men and women were running in different directions to save their lives. But the administration seemed absent," he said.
He added that thousands of people with locally-made weapons entered the village on motorcycles and carried out the violence. The attackers seemed to be outsiders, he said.
Locals and police say there had been tension in the village since Sunday soon after news of the Facebook status began to trickle in. From the afternoon, a mob had begun to gather in the village. By evening, their numbers had swelled and they began to chant slogans.
It was at this time that a team of 15 to 20 policemen from Pirganj police station went to the house of Paritosh, the 16-year-old boy who had posted the Facebook status which apparently whipped up the frenzy. His house was in the area next to Bara Karimpur.
When the assailants saw the police presence, they set their sights elsewhere: Bara Karimpur.
Locals complained that Bara Karimpur was not far from the police station, but police did not get there on time. The fire service department, too, arrived late.
Arjun Chandra, a resident of the village and leader of the local puja committee, said, "When our houses were burning, we called the fire service many times but they did not come on time. The damage would have been less if they had responded faster."
Pirganj Fire Service Station Officer Ratan Chandra Sharma did not deny the allegations.
"The fire service had nothing to do with the thousands of excited crowds. How do we work if there is no security for us? It is not possible to take such a big risk with fire trucks and valuable equipment. We repeatedly tried to contact the police and the upazila administration. If they had given us security, the operation would have been sped up," he added.
When the attacks began, police were said to have fired blank shots to disperse the crowds. It was not enough and the police force was soon outnumbered.
Pirganj police station Officer-in-Charge Suresh Chandra said he was present on the spot since the beginning. At first, police controlled a mob of 400-500 people who had gathered near Paritosh's house.
Meanwhile, thousands of people suddenly started flocking to Karimpur. The situation could not be controlled even after bringing in more policemen. Due to the indifference of the fire service, however, more houses were burnt down, he said.
But while the police and fire service trade blame, the locals know that what has transpired cannot be changed. If prompt and competent measures were taken, all this could have been avoided.