Death toll in B’desh communal violence reaches 6

The death toll in the communal violence in Bangladesh has increased to six, while at least 70 Hindu temples were vandalised across the country, said Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu-Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad.

The spate of atrocities started on October 13 in Cumilla district, which quickly spread to other parts of the country including Chandpur, Noakhali, Kishoreganj, Chittagong, Feni and Rangpur.

So far, seven police officials of Rangpur and Feni were withdrawn on an instant order issued by President Abdul Hamid.

But the Responsible officer in charge of Kotwali, Chittagong, is still in his charge.

Sixty-six families in Rangpur’s Boro Karimpur fishing village have been displaced after their homes were destroyed in the violence.

The perpetrators also vandalised two shops and two temples in the area, looted all valuables and cashes.

The Hindu fishermen on Monday said their neighbourhood was attacked from all sides.

Meanwhile, the country has also witnessed continued protests against the violence.

On Sunday, thousands of people blocked the Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka for around three hours.

Joydeep Datta, a Dhaka University student, placed a seven-point demand in the protest programme.

The demands include highest punishment of the attackers, renovation of the affected temples, establishing a separate ministry or commission for the minorities and compensation for the looted shops and houses of Hindus.

A five-member representative of the protesters went to the Prime Minister’s Office to place a memorandum with the demands.

The protesters later withdrew their blockade setting a 24-hour ultimatum to fulfil their demands.

“If the government doesn’t fulfil the demands, we will block the Shahbagh intersection again and continue our protest,” said Joydeep.

“We want exemplary punishment for those involved in these attacks,” demanded Prof Mihir Lal Saha, provost of DU’s Jagannath Hall, during the protest.

In a separate programme on Monday eveving, the Progressive Student Alliance staged a demonstration in front of the National Museum and demanded punishment of the attackers, ensuring safety of minorities and resignation of the home minister for “his failure to provide security to minorities”.

In Chittagong, different organisations staged protest programmes demanding arrest and exemplary punishment of the attackers.

Members of the Chattogram Mahanagar Puja Udjapan Parishad formed a human chain in front of Chattogram Press Club.

“If the attacks are not stopped, we would be compelled to declare tougher programmes,” they said.

In Cumilla, a 20-member delegation of Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) on Monday visited puja mandaps of Nanua Dighirpar area, which came under attack on October 13.

In Tangail, members Hindu community formed a human chain and staged demonstration in front of the Tangail Press Club and Shaheed Minar.

At Rajshahi University, several hundred students and teachers formed a human chain at the university’s Paris Road.

In Munshiganj, a human chain and protest rally was held at noon.

In Narayanganj, hundreds of people under the banner of ISKCON and Sree Sree Radhagovinda Temple brought out processions and marched through different streets.

In Lalmonirhat, several thousand people staged a demonstration and brought out a protest procession in the town.