Bangladesh: 14 Hindu temples vandalized; conspiracy against peace, says official
In a shocking incident, 14 Hindu temples in northeastern Bangladesh have been vandalized by unidentified miscreants, reported PTI. The vandals destroyed idols in 14 temples in three unions in the Thakurgaon district on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. The Bangladesh Police is reportedly yet to arrest those involved in the incident, while an official termed it an alleged "conspiracy against peace."
Why does this story matter?
- The incident comes weeks after several Hindu temples in Australia and Canada were allegedly vandalized by Khalistani supporters.
- While such attacks are reportedly unusual in Bangladesh, similar events were lately reported there as a result of the alleged rise of religious fanaticism.
- India has sharply denounced such violence in Bangladesh previously, especially around Hindu festivals. Notably, Hindus account for roughly 10% of Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
Idols of 14 temples destroyed, thrown into pond waters: Official
Confirming the incident, the general secretary of Baliadangi sub-district's Puja Celebration Council, Bidyanath Barman, said, "Unidentified people carried out the attacks under the cover of darkness, vandalizing idols in 14 temples in three unions." Some of the idols were destroyed, while some were found in pond waters along the temple sites, he said. Barman appealed to the authorities to bring the culprits to justice.
Images of one of temples shared on Twitter
Attack an orchestrated attack to disrupt peace: Official
Thakurgaon Deputy Commissioner Mahbubur Rahman termed the incident a conspiracy to disturb the peace and harmony in the country. The police said the attacks took place between Saturday night and Sunday dawn in several villages. "It clearly appears to be a case of an orchestrated attack to disrupt the peaceful situation of the country," PTI quoted Thakurgaon police chief Jahangir Hossain as saying.
Investigation launched to nab attackers
The police have launched a manhunt to nab the attackers. "I assure you they will have to face stern legal actions," Hossain told PTI. Deputy Commissioner Rahman added the incident was the manifestation of a "conspiracy against peace and communal harmony." "This is a serious crime and the perpetrators will face the music," he said.
Religious leader Samar Chattarjee appeals for peace
Meanwhile, Hindu community leader and union parishad chairman Samar Chattarjee appealed to the public to maintain peace. He claimed that the affected region has always witnessed "excellent interfaith harmony," and no such heinous incident ever took place in the past. "The (majority) Muslim community does not have any dispute with us (Hindus)... We just cannot understand who could be these culprits," he said.
Similar incidents of vandalization in past
In 2021, Bangladesh witnessed communal clashes during Durga Puja celebrations after claims on social media about the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja event. Incidents of vandalism and violence were reported from several Hindu temples in Chandpur, Banshkhali, and Cox's Bazar, too, prompting India to react strongly. Similarly, a Hindu temple in Jhenaidah was vandalized in October 2022 as well.