Islamist advocacy group’s followers attack 70-80 Hindu houses in Bangladesh: Police

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Dhaka, Mar 19 (PTI) Hundreds of supporters of an Islamist advocacy group in Bangladesh attacked and vandalised 70 to 80 houses of Hindus in the country’s northeastern Sylhet division following a social media post allegedly by a youth from the minority community, media reports said on Friday.

The attack on a Hindu village by several thousand followers of Hefazat-e-Islam’s leader Mamunul Haque took place in Shalla upazila of Sunamganj district in Sylhet division on Wednesday, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported.

Haque’s supporters from Kashipur, Nachni, Chandipur and some other Muslim-populated villages gathered in Noagaon village and attacked the homes of local Hindus with sticks and locally made weapons, vandalising 70-80 houses, the report quoted the police as saying.

Many local Hindus fled their homes to save themselves, the report said, adding that the mob entered the village, ransacked and looted many houses.

The indecent happened after Hefazat-e-Islam's Amir Allama Junaid Babunagari, Joint-Secretary General Mawlana Mufti Mamunul Haque and several other central leaders attended a conference at Derai upazila on Monday, it said.

Enraged by Haque's speech, a young Hindu man allegedly made a Facebook post criticising him.

Following the social media post, the mob attacked the village on Wednesday.

A large number of police personnel rushed to the spot.

A senior police officer said that elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) was also deployed.

Shalla Upazila Nirbahi Officer Al Muktadir Hossain said in a statement that the accused youth has been arrested and handed over to the law enforcement for insulting Haque on Facebook.

Legal action is being taken against him.

Meanwhile, the police raided a village in Sunamganj to nab the perpetrators who attacked the homes of Hindu residents.

'The police raid is still on to capture those who took part in the attacks,” Saheb Ali Pathan, additional police superintendent in Sunamganj, told bdnews24.com.

Around 22 suspects have been arrested as of Friday morning, the Dhaka Tribune quoted senior police officials as saying.

Two cases have been filed with Shalla Police Station over the incident, the report said, adding that one of them was filed against 1,500 “unidentified” people. PTI CPS AKJ CPS