2 Hindu men killed in Bangladesh violence; toll reaches 6
Two Hindu men have been killed in Bangladesh, police officials said, marking fresh casualties in the ongoing communal violence in the neighboring country. The latest incident occurred in the southern town of Begumganj as hundreds of Muslims attacked a Hindu temple on the final day of Durga Puja, news agency AFP reported. The death toll in the violence has now climbed to six.
More than 200 people attacked a temple on Friday, local police station chief Shah Imran said. The attackers thrashed and stabbed to death an executive member of the temple committee, AFP reported. This morning, another Hindu man's body was found near a pond next to the temple. "Two men have died since yesterday's attack. We are working to find the culprits," an official said.
Violence against Hindus erupted across Muslim-majority Bangladesh on Wednesday after videos surfaced on social media alleging desecration of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja event in Cumilla. Incidents of violence and vandalism were then reported in over a dozen districts, including Noakhali, Chandpur, Cox's Bazaar, Chattogram, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Moulvibazara, and Kurigram. Four people had died before Friday's attack.
At least 150 Hindus have been injured and some 80 pandals were attacked across Bangladesh, according to Hindu community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik. Bangladesh's government has deployed paramilitary troops in 22 districts in the aftermath of the clashes. Around 90 people have been arrested in connection to the attacks, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said. "We will also hunt down all the masterminds," he said.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised strict action against the people involved in the violence. "The incidents in Cumilla are being thoroughly investigated. Nobody will be spared. It does not matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished," she said while speaking to the Hindu community during an event in the capital of Dhaka.
The communal clashes in the neighboring country have triggered outrage in India. "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. He added that Indian consulates are communicating with the Bangladesh government over the issue. Hindus comprise nearly 10% of Bangladesh's 169 million (16.9 crore) population.