'Attempt to Destroy Communal Harmony': Bangladesh Minister on Durga Puja Clashes

Five people were killed in the clashes that broke out in Bangladesh after an alleged incident of blasphemy.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Unrest had erupted in Bangladesh on Wednesday, 13 October, after an alleged incident of the desecration of the Quran at a Durga Puja pavilion in Cumilla.</p></div>

Days after clashes broke out at several Durga Puja venues in Bangladesh, the country's Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday, 17 October, said that the attacks were 'pre-planned' and had aimed disturb communal harmony.

The unrest in Bangladesh had erupted on Wednesday, 13 October, after an alleged incident of the desecration of the Quran at a Durga Puja pavilion in Cumilla, located about 100 km from Dhaka.

"The alleged defamation of the Holy Quran and subsequent attacks on the Hindus in Cumilla were premeditated and aimed at destroying the communal harmony in Bangladesh. It appears to us that it was a motivated act instigated by a vested group."
Bangladesh Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman, as quoted by news agency ANI

"Not only in Comilla, but attempts were also made to destabilize the country previously through communal violence in Ramu and Nasirnagar," Khan was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune.

The minister further promised "exemplary punishment" for this involved in the violence.

What Had Happened

As many as five people were killed and several others injured in the clashes that broke out in Bangladesh in the days following an alleged incident of blasphemy on Wednesday, as per news agency PTI.

Allegations of sacrilege of the holy book Quran at a Durga Puja venue had floated on social media, fuelling communal tensions that resulted in the vandalisation of several Puja venues and Hindu temples in the areas of Bandarban, Chandpur, Chittagong, Chapainawabganj, Gazipur, and Moulvibazar, as per Dhaka Tribune.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on Thursday, had vowed that the perpetrators of communal violence against the Hindu minority community would be punished.

"The incidents in Comilla are being thoroughly investigated. Nobody will be spared. It doesn't matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished," she had said, addressing Hindu community members during an event in Dhaka on the occasion of Durga Puja, PTI reported.

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of the Bangladesh Police has said that it expects to arrest some of the perpetrators of the clashes soon.

'Take Swift Action, End Violence Against Minorities': ISCKON Appeals to Bangladesh

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on Sunday, 17 October, appealed to the Bangladesh government to "take swift action to end the violence against minorities."

"The criminals behind these murderous attacks must be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of law," the ISKCON statement said.

The organisation offered its condolences for the deceased, and thanked Prime Minister Hasina for her support to the Hindu community.

(With inputs from The Dhaka Tribune, PTI, and ANI)

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