Three people were killed and over fifty injured after clashes broke out between a mob and the police in Bangladesh's Chandpur district on Wednesday, 13 October, following reports of the alleged desecration of the Quran at a Durga Puja pandal in Cumilla, multiple reports suggested.
The country's government deployed paramilitary forces in 22 districts after the incident. There were reports of Hindu temples being vandalised as well.
News agency PTI quoted a Bangladeshi news website as saying that a local temple in Cumilla became the centre of a social media storm on Wednesday after allegations of blasphemy emerged.
Clashes were reported from Cumilla, Chattogram, Kurigram and Moulvibazar, where Hindu idols and temples were vandalised, reported The Daily Star. There were also reports of attacks on temples in Banshkhali and Karnaphuli Upazilas.
"There are injury marks on the bodies, but I cannot say what caused those," Nazimuddin, sub-inspector of Hajiganj Police Station, was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.
He said that at least 15 police personnel had also been injured, out of which eight had been admitted to hospital. There were also reports of journalists and the local administration coming under attack.
According to The Dhaka Tribune, the situation had gone out of control at one stage, and riots had started spreading to several Durga Puja venues.
According to reports, the elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and paramilitary force Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) was brought in to bring the situation under control.
In an emergency notice, the religious affairs ministry asked the public not to take the law into their hands and called for the maintenance of communal harmony and peace.
Indian High Commission in Close Contact with B'desh Authorities: MEA
Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian High Commission was in close contact with the concerned authorities in Bangladesh.
"We've seen some reports of attacks on religious gatherings in Bangladesh. We note that the Bangladesh government has reacted strongly to it. We also understand that Durga Puja celebrations continue in Bangladesh. Our High Commission is in close contact with authorities," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "take necessary and urgent steps to provide relief to the 'Sanatani People' of Bangladesh" after reports of vandalism at several Durga Puja pandals and temples emerged from Bangladesh.
(With inputs from The Daily Star, The Dhaka Tribune, ANI and PTI.)
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