Bangladesh High Court orders judicial probe into communal violence

The Bangladesh High Court on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to conduct judicial inquiries into the incidents of violence and attacks on Hindu temples and marquees during Durga Puja in six districts between October 13 and 18

Oct 28, 2021
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Bangladesh High Court

The Bangladesh High Court on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to conduct judicial inquiries into the incidents of violence and attacks on Hindu temples and marquees during Durga Puja in six districts between October 13 and 18.

The districts are Comilla, Feni, Noakhali, Chattogram, Chandpur and Rangpur.

The court also asked the chief metropolitan magistrates and chief judicial magistrates to submit the inquiry reports to it in 60 days.

At the same time, the HC issued a rule asking the local administrations concerned to explain in four weeks why their inaction and failure to protect Hindu citizens and their properties in the districts during their biggest religious festival should not be declared illegal.

The HC bench of Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah came up with the order and ruling after hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyers Anup Kumar Saha and Mintu Chandra Das seeking necessary directives on the issue.

They submitted the petition as public interest litigation to the HC on October 21, saying that eight people were killed and many others were injured and temples, Durga puja marquees and property were vandalized uring the "mindless communal attacks and violence" between October 13 and 18.

Lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua appeared for the writ petitioners while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Additional Attorney General Sk Md Morshed opposed the writ petition during its virtual hearing.

The violence erupted after a copy of the Holy Quran was found on the lap of Hanuman, a central character in the epic Ramayana, in a Durga Puja canopy in the Nanuardighi area of Comilla district.

The incidents led to strong diplomatic exchanges between New Delhi and Dhaka on the disturbances as well as the possibility of extremist elements trying to stir up communal tension in both Bangladesh and India.

Later, police arrested Iqbal Hossain, who reportedly confessed to placing the Quran in the marquee.

So far, police have arrested 450 people and filed 71 cases concerning the violence.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised strict action, and her government has unequivocally condemned the incidents.

Hindus comprise the largest religious minority group in Bangladesh, forming over 9 percent of the population.

(SAM)

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