Members of the country's Hindu community along with a faction of Dhaka University (DU) students blocked the Shahbagh intersection protesting the recent attacks on temples and puja venues in different parts of the country.
The protesters blocked the key intersection in Dhaka and started demonstrating around 10:30am today.
Hundreds of vehicles got stuck causing severe traffic gridlock in Shahbagh, Paltan, Science Lab, Elephant Road, Bangla Motor, and the adjacent areas.
The demonstrators were chanting slogans demanding a separate ministry for the minorities and asking the administration to answer why the temples were attacked.
However, around 2pm, they called off the sit-in programme following assurance from the authorities.
They said that a vested quarter is actively trying to create anarchy in the country.
The protesters declared that they will again take to the streets if their demands are not met soon.
Their demands include:
- Form a special tribunal and investigate the negligence of local administration
- Ensure exemplary punishment for those involved in the attacks
- Form separate ministry and commission for the country's minorities
- Properly compensate the victim families and businesses
- Provide necessary treatment to those who got injured in the attacks
- Immediately rebuild the damaged temples, houses, and other establishments
- Pass new law to ensure highest punishment for communal attacks
- Allocate 15% of the country's GDP for minority communities
- Revamp Hindu Religious Welfare Trust
- Release all Hindus arrested since the 13 October incident and compensate them
- Take measures to prevent the spread of communalism
- Prevent extremists and anti-independence forces from tarnishing Bangladesh's image
Earlier on 13 October, a reported demeaning of the holy Quran stoked communal tensions in Cumilla.
Following the incident, attacks were carried out on puja mandaps, temples, houses, and business establishments belonging to the Hindu community in at least 10 districts of the country.
The incident sparked a storm on social media as temples and puja celebrations came under attack in several districts.
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.
A number of political parties and social organisations have expressed concern and strongly condemned the attacks. In separate statements on Sunday, they demanded to identify those involved in the incidents and bring them under justice.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad's Chattogram chapter meanwhile placed a six-point charter of demand, including a ban on using religious and communal topics in politics and polls.