Activists of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, the Islami Chhatra Shibir have unleashed a streak of terror since Thursday, targeting the Hindu community in the country.
Reviving the nightmare of 1971 for minority Hindu community, Jamaat-Shibir men vandalised six temples and set fire to several Hindu houses and business in Noakhali, Gaibandha, Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet, Chapainawabganj and Rajganj, a Daily Star report said.
Two people were killed in the ensuing clashes between Jamaat-Shibir and the police in Datterhat and Rajganj, on Friday.
Hours after top Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death on Thursday, Jamaat activists set fire to Harishiva temple in Rajganj.
“They returned an hour later. This time we were left with no choice but to flee the area, as they started torching our houses with kerosene,” schoolteacher Shankar Chandra, who lost his house in the attack, told The Daily Star over the phone.
Some 50 Hindu people used to live in the houses burnt down, he said, adding that all but a few people had managed to escape to safety. Those left behind had been beaten up and kicked out of their houses by the Jamaat-Shibir attackers, the report said.
“We ran for our lives leaving everything behind. I was only seven during the Liberation War in 1971, but it didn’t feel this insecure even then,” said Shankar Chandra.
Jamaat-Shibir men outnumbered policemen in Rajganj as tensions continued to escalate. Just as soon as the police tried to scale down the violence, Jamaatis initiated an exchange of gunshots with the law enforcers, in which one person was killed.
They also threatened the local media from covering the event and seized cameras of photojournalists, according to the report.
In Chittagong, Jamaat activists attacked two Hindu-majority localities in Banshkhali upazila and set fire to a Buddhist temple at Satkania upazila. They also set fire to three shops belonging to Hindus at Satkania upazila and attacked people with sticks, iron rods and sharp weapons, critically injuring two, the police said.
In Gaibandha, Jamaat-Shibir men attacked a temple and business establishments belonging to Hindus on Friday. Later in the day, they vandalised houses in Shovaganj union.
Hindus also claimed that Jamaatis had vandalised, set fire to, and looted temples, houses and business establishments of the community in Sylhet, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Laxmipur and Chapainawabganj. They also said that the Islamists had vandalised the central Kali temple in Rangpur and another in Chapainawabganj.