By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, March 19 (IANS) Hefazat-e-Islam supporters ransacked a Hindu village in Shalla upazila of Bangladesh’s Sunamganj to protest critical comments against a leader of their group allegedly posted on Facebook by a Hindu man, police said.
The incident occurred on Wednesday morning, and triggered protests in Sylhet on Thursday for arrest of Hefazat leader concerned, Maulana Mamunul Haque.
The radical leader’s supporters ransacked the Hindu homes and looted valuables after the residents fled the village, a local police official told IANS.
After critical remarks against the Hefazat leader on a Facebook page, his supporters marched on the area on Tuesday night, accusing the Hindu man of hurting “Islamic” sentiments, the official said.
Police detained the Hindu man the same night to calm down the protesters but before additional reinforcements could reach the spot, several thousand followers of the leader marched to Noagaon village in the morning and vandalised 60 to 70 homes of Hindus.
Habibpur Union Parishad Chairman Bibekananda Majumder said the attackers also vandalised idols.
“Such an incident did not even happen in 1971,” he said, referring to the atrocities by the Pakistani Army during the Liberation War.
“What’s our fault? What did we do? Why are we suffering violence? They have vandalised everything, including the temples at our homes. We are in panic,” asked Mintu Das, a victim. The residents of Noagaon said that they have lost all valuables in the attack.
Local Hefazat leader Amin said anger spread among the Muslims over the man’s Facebook post and the angry people attacked his home. “Local Hifazat leaders resisted the attackers and informed the police,” he claimed.
Sunamganj Deputy Commissioner Jahangir Hossain and Superintendent of Police Mizanur Rahman have visited the village, and district authorities have deployed the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) along with police personnel in the area.
People in Sylhet organised a protest rally under the banner “Duskal Protirodhe Amra” on Thursday afternoon, demanding the immediate arrest of the Hefazat leader over the attack.
Jagannathpur Upazila Parishad Vice Chairman Muktadir Ahmed Mukta, cultural organiser Shamsul Basit Shero, Ripon Chowdhury, Bhumi Sontan Bangladesh President Ashraful Kabir, Awami League’s Sylhet city unit Swechchhasebak League Vice President M.A. Rashid Ahmed and Duskal organiser Abdul Karim spoke at the function.
By Sumi Khan