Dhaka, Oct 17: The chief of Bangladesh's minority body has called for a day-long demonstrations on October 23 to protest the recent incidents of violence including attacks on Hindu temples. At least four persons have been killed and 70 others injured in the attacks in the last three days.
The Hindu leaders who had earlier refused to immerse idols of Goddess Durga to voice their protest against the attacks and vandalism in police presence in Chittagong on a Durga Puja venue, eventually immersed the idols on Saturday. Advocate Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) attacks by religious fanatics during Durga Puja in 20 districts of Bangladesh have left at least four persons dead and 70 others injured.
The radical attackers vandalised, torched, and looted more than 70 puja venues, 30 homes, and 50 shops of the minorities, the Dasgupta said at a press conference at Chittagong Press Club on Saturday. Human rights activists Nurjahan Khan, General Secretary of LEERHO, Asok Saha, Professor Jinobodhi Bhante have, meanwhile, vowed their commitment, along with the council leaders, to fight for justice against the pre-planned communal attack.
Dasgupta claimed that Saleh Mohammed Tanvir, Commissioner, Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) failed to protect the minority people, and his promise to protect the temples and the minority people of Chittagong.
"When the Commissioner came to me, I said, 'I don't trust you people... you failed to protect the temples, also your police forces vanished before the attack on JM Sen Hall puja venue'," he said.
On Friday afternoon Hindu Community leaders announced not to immerse the idols of goddess Durga in protest against vandalism of JM Sen Hall's puja venue, and also demanded the removal of Nezam Uddin, the officer in charge (OC) of Kotwali police station. Seeking anonymity, an official said that the chief secretary of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the withdrawal of the concerned police officer, but it has been denied by Tanveer, the commissioner of CMP.
Dasgupta also mentioned that Nezam Uddin is yet to be questioned for his negligence. He also announced the list of the temples and people that came under attack, detailing some of the incidents. He said the body of a Hindu devotee, Partha Das, was spotted in the ISKCON temple's pond in Noakhali's Choumohani on Saturday morning. Manik Saha died in an attack on Lakshmi Narayan Jiu Akhra at Hajiganj in Chandpur on Wednesday. In Noakhali on Friday, the assailants beat to death Jatan Saha, a member of Bijoy Puja Mandap committee, and Moloy Krishna Das, a member of the ISKCON, at their temple, according to the locals.
However, the police claimed that Saha died of a "heart attack".
"These communal attacks cannot be brushed aside as isolated incidents now. We believe all of these were part of a plan. The main goal is to destroy Bangladesh's image in the international arena," said Dasgupta.
He alleged that people from Joy Bangla Club at Karnaphuli police station area in Chittagong attacked the Jelepara puja venue on Thursday. Two siblings -- Joynal and Monir, former BNP activists who later joined the Awami League, led the attack.
On Wednesday, Mohammad Saber Ahmed, Mohammad Ridwan, and Mohammad Shamsul Islam of Shekherkhil, Gondaara, and Napora led the attacks on the Hindus of Shekherkhil and Napora of Banshkhali in Chattogram. Police filed a case naming 83 people over the attempt to attack the puja venue at JM Sen Hall in the port city. Most of them are shopkeepers and residents and Khalifapotti, identified from security camera footage.
Also, similar incidents have taken place in Chandpur, Chittaging, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj and other districts. At least four persons reportedly died in police firing during attacks on puja venues in Chandpur's Hajiganj on Wednesday. Around hundreds of people were arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media. BGB personnel were deployed in 24 districts and security was beefed up at places of worship, police claimed.