A heated altercation between Hindu and Muslim locals on Friday night may have ensued the attacks, say locals
Police have arrested 10 people in a case filed in connection with the vandalism of several Hindu temples, homes and shops in a village in Khulna.
Shariful Islam, Samrat Mollah, Manjurul Alam, Shariful Islam Sheikh, Rana Sheikh, Mominul Islam, Akram Fakhir, Shohel Sheikh, Shamim Sheikh and Jamil Biswas were arrested in a raid carried out on Saturday night, according to media reports.
The situation in the area is currently under control, said a police official.
Earlier on Saturday, four Hindu temples, at least 10 idols of gods and goddesses, six shops and two homes of the local Hindu community were vandalized in an attack carried out by unidentified miscreants in a Khulna village.
The attacks started with the temples and ended with the shops at Shiali village in Rupsha upazila in the evening, according to locals and police.
Some locals claimed the attackers were from neighbouring Sheikhpura, Bamandanga and Chadpur areas. But their identities could not be confirmed.
The attacks reportedly took place following a heated altercation between two groups of Hindu and Muslim locals on Friday night.
As tension rose in the area following the attacks, additional police forces were deployed to maintain law and order, said Rupsha police station OC Sardar Mosharraf Hossain.
According to locals and victims, the miscreants first attacked the Shiali Mahasmashan temple. They vandalized all the idols in the temple and everything in the crematorium.
From there, they moved to the temples in Shiali Purbapara area, where they vandalized all the idols of Hindu gods and goddesses in Hari Mandir, Durga Mandir and the Govinda Mandir, which is located at the residence of one Shivpada Dhar.
Afterwards, they attacked and vandalized Dhar’s house, the home and shop of one Balai Mallik, and the other shops in the area.
Krishna Gopal Sen, general secretary of Rupsha upazila Puja Udjapan Parishad, confirmed that at least 10 idols at four temples were vandalized during the attacks. “There is high tension in the area now. But the local administration is working to keep the overall situation under control.”
He said the attacks may have taken place because of Friday night’s altercation between two groups of Hindus and Muslims in front of the local mosque.
The Hindus were going towards the Shiali Mahasmashan temple while singing Kirtan, a form of devotional songs, during the Esha prayers which led to the scuffle, said the mosque’s Imam Maulana Nazim Uddin.
“The situation had gotten out of hand a bit after someone shoved me after I urged them to not sing in front of the mosque during prayers. However, the situation was resolved after police arrived and intervened,” he said.
Sen maintained that no one from the group of Hindu locals had attacked the Imam.
Rupsha police OC Hossain said: “We are alert and active to keep the situation under control.”