Several hundred people from three villages on Wednesday morning carried out a fierce attack on the minority Hindu community in village Naogram of Salla upazila in Sunamganj, damaging several dozens of houses following a Facebook post by a Hindu youth against Hefazat-e-Islam joint secretary general Mamunul Haque.
The attack carried out several hours after the members of the Hindu community handed over the youth, Jhuman Das Apan, 28, an employee of a private firm, to the local police for his alleged Facebook post.
Witnesses said that the villagers from Santashpur, Natni and Chandrapur villages of Dirai upazila jointly carried out the attacks on over 50 houses of Hindu- populated areas of the village Naogram between 8:00am and 8:30am, ransacking houses, allegedly looting valuables and damaging their idols inside their family temples.
No causalities, however, were reported as Naogram residents went into hiding sensing trouble and the local administration and police dispersed the attackers, many of whom were seen carrying sticks, sharp weapons and wearing Islamic caps and or a bandana tied around their head.
The Sunamganj district deputy commissioner and district magistrate Zakir Hossain said in their primary inquiry that they found that the supporters of the Hefazat-e-Islami carried out the attack.
He said that the local authorities promptly reacted.
Zakir said that additional forces were deployed at villages in Dirai and Salla upazilas to avoid further trouble.
‘We assured that the villagers that the perpetrators would be brought to justice after police investigation,’ said Zakir, who visited the affected areas along with senior leaders and police officials.
Hafazat-e-Islam chief Junaid Babunagari and his other leaderships, including Mamunul Haque, on Monday held an Islamic gathering in Dirai upazila and announced that the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi would not be welcomed in Bangladesh as the Indian leader was scheduled to join the golden jubilee celebration of Bangladesh’s independence on March 26.
Hefazat-e-Islam central unit organising secretary Mawlana Azizul Haque Islamabadi denied the allegation of having any association with the attack, instead, he said that the villagers carried out the attack after having been agitated by the Facebook post of a Hindu youth targeting Islam, the rituals associated with it, and Hafazat leaders.
The witnesses said that the attackers damaged the house of Habibpur union council chairman Bibekananda Majumdar Bakul.
Bibekananda told New Age that they were busy in the upazila headquarters celebrating the birth centenary programme of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Ratan Chandra Das, a businessman who handed over Hindu youth to the authorities, told New Age over the phone that a photoshopped image of Hefazat leader Mamunul Haque with shoes was shared from the profile of the youth.
‘We handed the youth over the police. Even after this, the villagers carried out the attack,’ said Ratan.
He claimed that the youth denied his involvement and said that he could not access his profile when the photo was shared.
Sunamganj district police superintendent Mizanur Rahman said that none was arrested as the police were preparing to file a case against the perpetrators.
Mizanur accused the Hindu youth for spreading hate speech on social media and added, ‘Sharing hate speech was part of his regular activities.’
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