Bangladesh man lynched and body burned for 'stepping on Quran'

·2-min read
<p>A crowd seized the 35-year-old victim and beat him to death</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

A crowd seized the 35-year-old victim and beat him to death

(AFP via Getty Images)

Hundreds of people in a town in Bangladesh lynched a man and then burnt his body after he allegedly desecrated the Quran.

Two men were accused of stepping on the holy book in the main mosque of the town of Burimari, near the border with India. 

They were held in police custody after officers received a complaint from worshippers, according to the AFP news agency. 

But on Thursday, hundreds of people stormed the municipal offices and seized the men. Police fired live rounds into the air but were unable to stop the mob.

A 35-year-old man was beaten to death before his body was burned in the street, while the other escaped with injuries. The mob also torched the municipal office.

The district police chief Abida Sultana told the DPA news agency that the two men had informed the imam at the mosque that hardline fighters might have stored illegal arms inside the building. 

The men then tried to search for the weapons on the shelf where the Quran and Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) were kept. The imam reportedly found their treatment of the holy book disrespectful, following which police were called and the two men were locked in the council office.  

The police said they did not find any weapons in the mosque, and have taken the second man into protective custody. 

The incident came amid mounting anger in Bangladesh over comments about Islam made by France's President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Macron spoke out after a French teacher was beheaded earlier this month for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Paying tribute to the teacher, Mr Macron said France "will not give up our cartoons".

Tens of thousands of Muslims protested in Bangladesh on Friday after killings by a knife-wielding assailant in a French church in Nice prompted another vow from President Macron to stand firm against attacks on French values and freedom of belief.