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500 sued, 5 jailed over attack on Hindu homes in Comilla

  • Published at 01:35 pm November 2nd, 2020
Photo shows a group of locals vandalize and torch houses of Hindu families in Comilla on November 1, 2020 Screenshot taken from a video from Social Media

Local administration has imposed Section 144 in Andikout union of Muradnagar to avoid further untoward incidents

Over five Hindu households were vandalized and torched in Comilla, after a man reportedly showed support for France’s defence of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), on Facebook on Sunday.

The incident took place at Korbanpur village under Muradnagar upazila of Comilla on Sunday afternoon, leading to panic among the community.

The victims, UC Chairman Nabakumar Shib, Liton Debnath and Sandip, have filed three cases against altogether 500 unnamed people who were reportedly involved in the vandalism.

Of the accused, five were arrested on Monday and were convicted through a mobile court set up by the local administration.

The mobile court, led by the Assistant Commissioner (AC) (Land) of Muradnagar upazila,Saiful Islam Kamol, has sentenced the five accused, Md Ershad, 40, Helal Uddin, 45, Shanu Miah, 38, Enu Miah, 48, and Babu Miah, 30 to different terms in jail.

Of them, the first three named were sentenced to 18 months in jail, while the latter two were sentenced to six months in jail, confirmed the AC Land.

Meanwhile, the local administration has imposed Section 144 in Andikout union of Muradnagar to avoid any untoward incident from Monday morning until further notice, confirmed UNO Avishek Das.

“We were informed that a public gathering is going to take place in the union protesting the vandalism in Muradnagar on Monday. To prevent any kind of unrest we have imposed Section 144 in the area,” said the UNO.

Earlier on Sunday the office of the local Union Parishad Chairman Bankumar Shiv and the house of Shankar Debnath were set on fire. More than five Hindu households were attacked, vandalized and torched. The fire service had to be called in to douse the flames.

Meanwhile, pictures and videos of the attack went viral on social media within moments.

A force from Bangra police station immediately rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.

Later, Comilla Deputy Commissioner Abul Fazal Mir, Superintendent of Police Syed Nurul Islam and other officials of the administration visited the scene.

Also Read- Govt orders actions against bigots over vandalism in Comilla

According to locals, Shankar Debnath, a local of the village, on Saturday, reportedly commented on a Facebook post related to France’s defence of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), expressing his support to it. 

A case was filed over the incident. On Sunday, police arrested Shankar and Anik Bhowmik, another accused in the case, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and sent them to jail. 

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Comilla Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) DSB Azimul Ahsan said: “A group of locals of Korbanpur village torched the office of local Union Parishad Chairman Bankumar Shiv and the house of Shankar Debnath and also vandalized several other Hindu households on Sunday afternoon.

“We have deployed an additional force in the area to maintain law and order.”

On October 29, an unruly mob lynched Abu Yunus Md Shahidunnabi Jewel, based on rumours that he had allegedly desecrated the Quran at the prayer hall of Burimari Central Jame Mosque at Patgram upazila in Lalmonirhat.

On October 16, a French middle school teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by an 18-year-old Muslim, Russian-born refugee of Chechen descent, Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, for showing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of speech and expression.

The caricature, carried in 2015 by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo led to the death of 12 people at the hands of Islamist extremists.

French president Emmanuel Macron said that the incident was "a typical Islamist terrorist attack," and that "our compatriot was killed for teaching children freedom of speech."

The country is now in shock after the beheading of a teacher and the killing of three more people in a church, attacks that have been blamed on Islamist radicals and which have propelled the fight against terror to the top of the agenda. The motives behind the shooting of a priest in Lyon on Saturday are still not clear.

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