A Muslim mob burned down 26 Hindu houses in Bangladesh’s Pabna district on Saturday. The attack was provoked after alleged reports of a Hindu boy committing blasphemy. (Reuters image)
A mob went on a rampage in a Hindu-dominated neighbourhood in a village in Bangladesh’s Pabna district following reports that a boy from the minority community had committed blasphemy, prompting the country’s High Court to order arrest of attackers within 24 hours.
The mob attacked the Hindu neighborhood at Bonogram village in Santhia upazila in Pabna district on Saturday, vandalising 26 houses, damaging several idols and forcing about 150 families to flee the area.
The incident prompted the High Court to take suo motu cognisance, asking the Inspector General of Police to ensure the arrest of the culprits within 24 hours and deployment of adequate police forces in the area to protect the minorities.
“We have arrested nine of the perpetrators of the attack in the past two days and are looking for the others,” officer in-charge of the local police station Rezaul Karim said.
He said that most of the suspects belonged to supporters or activists of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party or their crucial ally Jamaat-e-Islami while the scene was the home of the fundamentalist party’s chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, who is being tried for 1971 crimes against humanity.
“The situation here is now normal,” Karim said.
The High Court bench comprising judges Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and ABM Altaf Hossain also asked the police chief to launch a probe into the attack and assess the amount of loss it caused and submit the report before the court.
The media reports, meanwhile, came up with a finding that a group of extortionists, mostly belonging to the BNP and their fundamentalist ally Jamaat-e-Islami, had planned to frame Hindu schoolboy Rajib Saha for maligning Islam after his businessman father refused to pay them.
The Daily Star newspaper said it found that the Facebook page, photocopies of which were used to incite the attacks, had no links with Rajib.