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13 More Arrested For Violence Against Hindus In Bangladesh

An angry mob on October 17 damaged 66 houses and set on fire at least 20 homes of Hindus in Rangpur district’s Pirganj upazila, over an alleged blasphemous social media post amidst protests by the minority community against temple vandalism incidents during the Durga Puja celebrations.

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Dhaka: Police have arrested 13 more suspects, including a local cleric, for the recent spate of violence against the minority Hindu community during Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh, according to media reports on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, police arrested Mamun Mondal, who is an activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami and Omar Faruk, a local cleric, on Sunday from different locations.

“Mamun was actively involved with Chhatra Shibir from 2012. Later, he lived in Malaysia for some time. Omar Faruk has been the imam at Pirganj south bus stand mosque,” Superintendent of Police Biplob Kumar Sarkar was quoted as saying by bdnews24.com.

An angry mob on October 17 damaged 66 houses and set on fire at least 20 homes of Hindus in Rangpur district’s Pirganj upazila, over an alleged blasphemous social media post amidst protests by the minority community against temple vandalism incidents during the Durga Puja celebrations.

Pirganj police officer-in-charge (OC) Suresh Chandra said that Mamun “sprinkled petrol and lit the fire” on the night of the violence, according to the report.

According to a report in Dhaka Tribune, the duo has admitted to the allegations during preliminary interrogation.

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“The accused had taken part in the violence directly. They were identified through video footage recorded of the incident on the night of October 17,” Chandra was quoted as saying in the report.

Police have so far arrested 68 people, including key suspect Shaikat Mandal, in connection with the violence.

Mandal confessed before a magistrate on Sunday that it was his Facebook post that led to the violence in Rangpur on October 17.

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Meanwhile, police have arrested 11 more people, including a Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, in connection with the violence against the Hindu community in Noakhali on October 15, the bdnews24.com report said.

The assailants attacked, vandalised and set fire on the places of worship and homes of Hindus in Noakhali’s Choumuhani.

They were arrested during raids at different parts of the district over the last 24 hours, the report said.

As many as 26 cases have been filed over the attacks and police have arrested 192 suspects so far, the report said.

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Attacks on Hindu temples intensified in Bangladesh since October 13 after an alleged blasphemous post surfaced on social media during the Durga Puja celebrations. Eight people died as communal violence spread to several other districts amid the festivities.

Hindus constitute around 10 percent of Muslim-majority Bangladesh’s 169 million population.

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