66 Hindu houses vandalised and 20 torched in Bangladesh: Report

66 Hindu houses vandalised and 20 torched in Bangladesh: Report

A mob has damaged 66 houses and set on fire at least 20 homes of Hindus in Bangladesh over an alleged blasphemous social media post amid protests by the minority community against temple vandalism incidents during the Durga Puja celebrations last week, authorities said on Monday.

The arson attack by the mob of over a hundred people happened late on Sunday on a village in Rangpur district’s Pirganj, about 255 km from here, bdnews24.com reported.

The police rushed to a fishermen neighbourhood as tension mounted over a rumor that a young Hindu man of the village had “dishonoured religion” in a Facebook post, Assistant Police Superintendent Mohammad Kamruzzaman told reporters.

“The incident took place after 10 pm yesterday but fire fighters doused the blaze within a short period (and) the situation is now under full control,” he said.

No casualties were reported, the officer said. As many as 52 suspects have been arrested while a manhunt was launched for more suspects under a “combing operation” in collaboration with other security forces, he added.

The arson incident occurred amid rising communal tension over an alleged blasphemy incident at a Durga Puja venue in Cumilla which led to attacks on Hindu temples and clashes between vandals and the police in Cumilla, Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj, Feni and other districts.

Dozens of people have been arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media, the report said.

Four assumed Muslim bigots were killed in Haziganj, the worst scene of the violence, on Wednesday and Thursday, while the body of a Hindu devotee was found at a pond in nearby Begumbanj of Noakhali district.