Police on Saturday arrested 48 people including the mastermind Mawlana Sirajul Haq, a local leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, after Friday’s attack on Hindu-dominated village at Thakurpara in Rangpur.
Two cases are also filed with Kotwali and Gangachara police stations against unidentified 2,000 people in this connection.
The officer-in-charge (investigation) of Kotwali police station, Abdul Aziz, and the OC of Gangachara police station, Zinnat Ali, confirmed the news of arrests and cases on Saturday.
Thakurpara is located in the bordering areas of Sadar and Gangachara upazilas in Rangpur.
On Friday, after jumma prayers, local Muslim devotees formed a human chain at Paglapir Bazar blocking Rangpur-Dinajpur Highway demanding punishment of one Titu Roy, of Thakurpara, who allegedly made a facebook post defaming Islam and its prophet on October 28.
The mob after the human chain marched towards Thakurpara and police obstructed them. Defying the barricade, the mob reached the village and torched 10 houses and vandalised seven houses and a warehouse and two temples of Lord Shiva.
A clash between locals and police erupted. Police fired gunshots and teargas shells to disperse the mob when they turned more violent. A man was killed and 20 others including five police personnel were injured in the chaos.
A spot visit of the village on Saturday found a tense and panic situation has been prevailing.
Jitan Bala, mother of Titu Roy said, her son Titu remained out of house for the past six years. He worked at Fatulla in Narayanganj and lived there with his family there.
He did not pass primary school, how he could post such a derogatory comment on Islam and its prophet on facebook, she said.
Ajay Chandra Baman, secretary of Rangpur unit Sarbajanin Puja Udjapan Committee, said Titu is an illiterate man. He cannot do this. The religious fanatics group might have done it. Perhaps someone of them made the derogatory post using a fake account in the name of Tipu. He also urged the administration to look into the matter seriously to find out the real culprits and compensate the victim families.
Sudhir Chandra, a victim whose house was burnt said one Mawlana Sirajul Haq , a local Jamaat leader of the nearest village Harialkuti, organised the human chain three days ago.
Announcements were made at different mosque under his leadership of a rally at Paglapir on Friday after jumma prayers. The number of attackers was around ten thousands and was carrying bamboo sticks. They were hurling petrol-filled bottles on the houses and lighted fire. They burnt eleven houses, vandalized seven houses, one warehouse and two Shiva temples.
Devotees from different villages of the adjacent areas joined the procession and the attack, he said.
Meanwhile, the district administration formed a three-member probe committee led by additional district magistrate, Abu Rafa Mohammad Arif, to investigate the incident.
The committee, which started work form Saturday, was asked to submit its report by seven workdays, said deputy commissioner Mohammad Wahiduzzaman.
He also said the district administration also started to build 10 new houses (which were burnt) and repair the seven houses for the victim families since Saturday morning.
Many of the locals claimed that the attackers were mainly the supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami.
The officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station, Babul Miah said, police arrested fifty eight people including the mastermind of the attack, Mawlana Sirajul Haq, imam of a mosque of Saleyasha bazar near the village and a local Jamaat leader. He organised the rally and led the attack and admitted it to police. A temporary police camp was set up at Thakurpara to fend off any untoward incident, the OC noted.
Meanwhile, a team of Awami League led by its organizing secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury visited the spot.
He said the religious fanatic groups were trying to destabilise country in the way they did at Ramu in Cox’s Bazar and Nasirnagar in Brahmanbaria.
He also assured the victim families to provide all sorts of support and assistance from the government.
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