About 100 houses and business establishments and some 17 temples of Hindu community were vandalised and looted at Nasirnagar upazila headquarters in Brahmanbaria and Madhabpur upazila in Habiganj district on Sunday on allegation of hurting religious sentiment of Muslims by a Hindu youth.
The residents of the houses and temples and the neighbouring Muslim community men who tried to resist the attackers were also beaten up, local people said.
About 50 people were injured in the attacks on minority community, they said.
Gaura Temple priest Provo Gopal Das Brahamachar was admitted to Brahamanbaria Sadar hospital while many others took treatment at local hospitals and clinics.
Local people and police said that Hindu youth Rasaraj Das, 27, of Harinber village under Nasirnagar upazila allegedly posted a doctored photo setting an idol on the Kaba on his Facebook wall on Friday.
Nasirnagar police station officer-in-charge Abdul Quader said that they arrested Rasaraj on Saturday at his house after getting information from local people. A Brahmanbaria court on Saturday sent Rasaraj to jail.
As the news spread, local Muslims protested at the Facebook post on Saturday and the local Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat announced a protest meeting at Nasirnagar College for Sunday.
The local people said that Ahle Sunnat activists began the protest rally at about 11:00am on Sunday.
Several hundred Muslims in groups armed with sticks and sharp weapons entered different Hindu localities chanting slogans at the same time.
They also attacked the houses and temples of Hindu community and robbed them at about 11:30am, the local people alleged.
As the attack began, the inmates of most of the houses began fleeing from their houses, they said.
They alleged that the attackers also beat up the residents of the houses, temples and vandalised idols at the temples.
The attackers also beat up Muslims who tried to resist the attack, said Abdul Majid, one of those who became injured while trying to save a local Hindu house namely Dutta Bari near Nasirnagar College.
‘We could resist the attack but the attackers threw brickbats on the house and hit the walls with sticks and sharp weapons,’ he said.
He said that Ahle Sunnat activists Abdul Hakim and Moulana Mottakim were also among others injured along with him.
Local people alleged that about 100 houses and 15 temples were attacked.
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad general secretary Rana Dasgupta said that at least 15 temples including 10 Kali idols and Jagannath Temple, Loknath Temple, Kashipara Kali Temple, Shiva Temple, Bishwakarma Temple, Durga Mandir and Duttabari Temple were vandalised and looted.
Protesting at the attack and demanding immediate arrest of and exemplary punishment of the attackers, he claimed that over 100 houses and business establishments at different localities of the upazila including Kashipara, Namasudrapara, Duttapara, Harirber and Mahakalpara were attacked, vandalised and looted.
Nasirnagar police officials said that senior police and administration officials rushed the spot and brought the situation under control.
Brahamnabaria superintendent of police Mizanur Rahman told New Age that a total of 18 to 20 houses were attacked and five temples of were vandalised.
He said that additional cops were deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incident and that the situation was now under control.
Upazila unit Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat convener Riazul Karim claimed that the Ahle Sunnat people only protested at the ‘dishonour of the Kaba’ peacefully and they were not involved in the attack.
He demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the attackers.
In Habiganj, Ahle Sunnat activists attacked two temples at Madhabpur upazila Sunday afternoon.
They attacked temples after holding a rally at Madhabpur upazila council premises to protest against the alleged Facebook post.
Border Guard Bangladesh members were deployed along with the local police to avert untoward situation, Habiganj deputy commissioner Samina Alam said.
District police superintendent Joydev Kumar Bhadra said that steps would be taken against the attackers through investigation into the incident.
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