Bangladesh Prime Minister orders strict action against arsonists

Bangladesh Prime Minister orders strict action against arsonists

Activists seek justice for victims of violence in Dhaka. Reuters

Dhaka, October 19

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday instructed her home minister to initiate immediate action against those who incited violence using religion, as she asked people not to trust anything on social media without fact-checking.

Week of unrest post Durga puja

  • The spate of atrocities started on October 13 in Cumilla district, which quickly spread to other parts of the country, including Chandpur, Noakhali, Kishoreganj, Chittagong, Feni and Rangpur
  • So far, seven police officials of Rangpur and Feni have been withdrawn on an instant order issued by President Abdul Hamid
  • Sixty-six families in Rangpur's Boro Karimpur fishing village have been displaced after their houses were destroyed by the mob
  • The perpetrators also vandalised two shops and two temples in the area, looted
  • all valuables and cash
  • Amid unrest, Bangladesh has witnessed continued protests against the violence

Attacks on Hindu temples have intensified in Bangladesh since last Wednesday after an alleged blasphemous post surfaced on social media during the Durga Puja celebrations. Late Sunday night, a mob damaged 66 houses and set on fire at least 20 homes of Hindus in Bangladesh. During the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Hasina instructed Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan to initiate immediate action against those who incited violence using religion, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam was quoted as saying by a daily.

PM Hasina, who joined the meeting through video-conferencing from her official residence, also urged the people of the country not to trust anything on social media without checking facts, he said.

She has instructed the Home Ministry to remain vigilant and take steps to prevent such incidents from recurring, Islam said. Local media reported that six Hindus were killed in separate attacks, but the figures could not confirmed independently.

Hasina has promised to bring to justice the perpetrators of recent violence. She has announced to provide all possible assistance to the affected families. The foreign ministry statement underlined that the Government of Bangladesh “unequivocally condemned those incidents and took serious note of the reactions from within and outside the Hindu community”. Regrettably, it said, the domestic elements that opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan were still propagating their "toxic narratives to instigate violence, hatred and bigotry". — PTI

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