Police arrest nine for attacks on Bangladesh Hindus
Alleged blasphemy sparks rampage and widespread damage
A vandalized statue of the Hindu goddess Kali on display inside a canopy in Bonogram village in northwestern Bangladesh.
At least nine men have been arrested in connection with a mob rampage last weekend through a Hindu community in northwestern Bangladesh, a police official said on Tuesday.
The violence erupted in Bonogram village, Pabna district, early on Saturday after an alleged blasphemous picture of the Prophet Muhammad was posted on Facebook, police spokesman Rezaul Karim told ucanews.com.
Local Muslims alleged that the image was posted by a Hindu teenager who distributed links to the web page to local Muslims, in order to provoke them.
The mob rampage lasted several hours, leaving 25 houses owned by Hindus and 12 temples vandalized and ransacked. Several shops belonging to Hindu businessmen also were attacked.
The attacks terrorized some 300 local Hindu families, with several fleeing the area to avoid further violence.
“They destroyed our home, temple and all our family belongings. We are still stricken by fear. We can’t sleep at night,” housewife Provati Saha said.
Local media reported that Rajib Saha, 15, whom the Muslims accused of posting the image, does not use Facebook and that the allegations were a result of attempts to extort money from the boy's father.
Karim said that those arrested for this weekend’s attacks are members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami.
“A case has been filed against 3,000 people including 20 political activists for the attacks,” he said.
Two committees are currently investigating the incident and additional police have been deployed in the area, he added.
On Sunday, the Bangladesh High Court ordered police to submit a report on the attacks within three days and take immediate measures to compensate victims.
Leaders from minority groups condemned the attacks.
The United Council of Hindus Buddhists and Christians in Bangladesh, the country’s largest minority forum, rallied outside the National Press Club in Dhaka on Sunday to protest against the attacks.
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