The ruling Awami League suspended three leaders of Nasirnagar in Brahmanbaria for their involvement in last week’s communal attacks, hours after at least six Hindu houses were burned to ashes in a second wave of violence in the area on Friday.
The arson attacks were carried out on five houses of Joynagar Pashchimpara, Banikpara and Hashpatalpara areas of Nasirnagar around 3am while another house was torched in Chotipara area under Gukorno union around 6:30pm. No one was injured in the attacks.
No cases were filed as of last night in connection with the latest attacks.
The suspended AL leaders are Abul Hashem, chairman of Nasirnagar sadar union and deputy secretary of Nasirnagar upazila AL; Faruq Mia, president of Haripur union unit AL; and Suruj Mia, president of Chaportola union unit.
Brahmanbaria sadar lawmaker RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury confirmed that they had found the involvement of the trio in primary investigation.
“They will be expelled from the party if we get concrete evidence against them,” the MP said while talking exclusively to the Dhaka Tribune. Muktadir, also president of the district unit AL and newly elected member of the party’s central committee, said that his party does not endorse “communal riot.”
[caption id="attachment_28872" align="aligncenter" width="800"] From left, Abul Hashem, Suruj Ali, and Faruq Mia
The three are all followers of local lawmaker and Fisheries and Livestock Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque, local sources said. While talking to the Hindu community leaders and media on Tuesday, an infuriated Sayedul used abusive words, and claimed that the October 30 attacks were insignificant.
So far,11 people have been arrested in two cases for their direct involvement in the October 30 attacks perpetrated in Kasipara, Sutrodhorpara, Ghoshpara, Songkorpara, Pashchimpara, Gangkulpara and Makhalpara areas.
Meanwhile, the law enforcers have identified 50 people from video clips of the attacks.
Trauma, hatred haunt children in Nasirnagar
Brahmanbaria police’s Additional SP Iqbal Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune Friday afternoon that the police had collected as many videos of the attack as possible and were scrutinising them.
“We have identified around 50 people from the videos and are preparing to take legal action against them,” he said.
On October 30, over 100 people were injured as a mob of around 3,000 local Muslims demolished and looted at least 12 temples, a handful of Kali Puja pavilions, and more than 100 houses of the Hindu community at Nasirnagar.
Before that they held a rally at the local playground to protest against a blasphemous post shared from the timeline of a Hindu youth, Rasraj Das, on October 28.
Even though Rasraj removed the photo immediately and apologised to the people saying that he had no idea about the post, radical Islamist groups organised violent protests on October 29 and gave him a good beating after capturing him from his house.
Watch: A victim’s account of Nasirnagar arson attack Friday
Local fisherman Rasraj, who is illiterate and does not even know the password of his Facebook account, was placed on a five-day remand Thursday. Brahmanbaria police said that they would send his mobile phone to detectives in Dhaka for forensic tests.
Meanwhile, Md Abu Zafar Friday took over the charge as officer-in-charge of Nasirnagar police. He has replaced Md Abdul Kader, who was withdrawn by the Police Headquarters on Tuesday for negligence in duties but reinstated the same day by the minister.
Victims have alleged that former OC Kader and UNO Chowdhury Md Moazzem Hossain were reluctant to protect the Hindus and instead gave speech provocative speeches at the protest rally among others on October 30.
Local Awami League also demanded withdrawal of the OC and the UNO.
A team of the central committee of the Awami League visited the area Tuesday under the directives of the prime minister and assured the affected families of necessary supports.
Rights activists who visited the area have given shocking statements about the attacks to the media saying that the way the radical Islamists vandalised the temples and houses clearly showed their hatred against the Hindus. They also demanded a judicial inquiry into the attacks that have outraged the nation.
Shibir-run website incites Nasirnagar attacks
Photos and videos of the attacks and witness statements suggest that some local leaders of radical Islamist groups Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Hefazat-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami, and even the Awami League took part in the violent processions and instigated the attacks.
Some websites and Facebook pages and groups have also been campaigning for the last one week to show support for the attackers.
Panicked by the extent of the communal attacks, several Hindu families have already fled home while some others say they will choose to cross the border if the government fails to protect them.
Cowsheds, kitchen burned
Manoranjan Banik, a sexagenarian well respected in the area, narrowly escaped the fire that started at his house at Banikpara village.
He told the Dhaka Tribune that he had never felt so helpless. “It has become impossible for us to stay here any more. They have attacked temples and houses. Next time they may set us on fire.”
His daughter, Padma Devi, told the Dhaka Tribune that everything appeared quiet when the family had returned home from a funeral around 2:30am.
Nasirnagar attacks driving away Hindus
“Someone set fire to our thatched house after half an hour. The neighbours told us that they had heard the sound of a CNG-run auto-rickshaw near our house.”
After visiting the spot, Nasirnagar UNO Moazzem told the Dhaka Tribune that 11 homes had been burned by miscreants, but this correspondent found that arson attacks took place in five houses in the area.
All the five houses are in close distance.
Phulkishore Sarkar from Hashpatalpara said that his cowshed and kitchen had been torched, while Rinku Rani Mallick of Banikpara mentioned that her family would have burned to death had her son, Joy, not discovered the fire.
The class VI student was also an eyewitness of the October 30 attacks. He said that some miscreants torched their kitchen next to his room. “I woke up smelling the fire and yelled for everyone to come out. Then we were able to put out the fire,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.