'Disturbing': India slams attacks during Durga Puja in Bangladesh
India has condemned the recent communal violence during Durga Puja celebrations in the neighboring Bangladesh, terming it "disturbing." It said the Indian High Commission and consulates are communicating with the Bangladesh government and the local authorities over the issue. Communal clashes had broken out in several areas across that country on Wednesday, killing at least three people and injuring dozens others.
"We have seen disturbing reports of untoward incidents, involving attacks on a religious gathering in Bangladesh," Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said at a weekly media briefing in Delhi. "We note the government of Bangladesh has reacted promptly to ensure the control of the situation including deployment of law enforcement machinery," he added.
"We also understand the ongoing festive celebration of Durga Puja continues with the support of the government of Bangladesh agencies and a large section of the public. Our High Commission and our consulates are in close contact with (the) government and other authorities," Bagchi said.
Communal clashes took place across Bangladesh after claims on social media about the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja event in Comilla. Incidents of vandalism and violence were also reported from Hindu temples in Chandpur, Banshkhali, and Cox's Bazar. Reports say at least three people were killed and over 60 were injured, including reporters, police officers, and others.
The government has deployed Border Guard Bangladesh in 22 districts after the attacks, reports said. The elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion was also ordered to be on guard. The police said they have detained 43 people in connection with the violence. "Investigations are underway and we are identifying the culprits also using security camera footage," Deputy Inspector General Anwar Hossain said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued a warning saying strict action will be taken against those involved in the attacks. "The incidents in Comilla are being investigated. Nobody will be spared. It doesn't matter which religion they belong to," she said. Hindus notably make up nearly 10 percent of Bangladesh's 169 million (16.9 crore) population, mainly comprising Muslims.