Bangladesh police arrest key suspect in recent violence against minorities that left 7 dead

The suspect allegedly kept a copy of the Quran inside a makeshift shrine, police say

Sravasti Dasgupta
Friday 22 October 2021 12:35
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<p>Bangladeshi Hindu community members hold banners as they take part in a protest in front of the Sri Sri Shani Dev Temple at Shankhari Bazar in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 21 October 2021. According to the police at least six people died in recent attacks on the Hindu community, temples, shops and houses in several districts in Bangladesh EPA/MONIRUL ALAM</p>

Bangladeshi Hindu community members hold banners as they take part in a protest in front of the Sri Sri Shani Dev Temple at Shankhari Bazar in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 21 October 2021. According to the police at least six people died in recent attacks on the Hindu community, temples, shops and houses in several districts in Bangladesh EPA/MONIRUL ALAM

Weeks after communal riots in Bangladesh left seven dead, police said they have nabbed the prime suspect who allegedly instigated the violence in Comilla and other places.

On 13 October, clashes broke out in Comilla which spread to several other districts after a video was circulated on social media showing a Quran being placed inside a makeshift venue created for annual the Durga Puja celebrations.

Hundreds of Hindu homes, shops and temples were vandalised across the country despite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemning the incident the very next day.

Comilla Superintendent of Police Faruk Ahmed said prime suspect Iqbal Hossain had been arrested on Thursday night, reported Dhaka Tribune.

Mr Hossain, 35, a resident of Comilla, was identified through CCTV footage which allegedly show him placing the holy book on the lap of an idol inside the makeshift Durga Puja shrine, Dhaka Tribune reported.

Tensions have been simmering in Bangladesh in the past week in the wake of the video going viral.

Police said over 400 people have been arrested and over 70 cases have been lodged in connection with the violence across the country, reported Dhaka Tribune.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has blamed the propaganda videos being circulated on social media depicting the brutal violence across the country that have misled and instigated the public, reported BBC.

Only 9 per cent of Bangladesh population are minority Hindus, but attacks on the minority community are not new.

According to estimates provided by a Deutsche Welle report based on data by Ain o Salish Kendra, a Bangladesh human rights group, there have been over 3,000 attacks on Hindus since 2013, reported Hindustan Times.

While Bangladesh constitution says that it is an Islamic country, it prides itself for its secular ideals.

The Sheikh Hasina government has promised to punish the perpetrators, it has called the violence a result of a planned conspiracy to destabilise the country.

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