A temple, shops and several houses of the Hindu community have been vandalised in southwestern Bangladesh by some unidentified persons over a Facebook post allegedly belittling Islam, in the latest spate of violence targeting the religious minority in the country, according to media reports on Sunday.
Police fired warning shots to disperse a mob that vandalised several homes and torched one of them in Sahapara village in Narail district on Friday evening, bdnews24.com, an online newspaper quoted Haran Chandra Paul, an inspector at the local police station, as saying.
The attackers also threw bricks at a temple in the village during the attack around 7:30pm, he said.
They also broke the furniture inside the temple.
Several shops were also vandalised, The Daily Star newspaper reported.
Haran said a young man posted something offensive on Facebook, triggering anger among Muslims. Police took his father to the police station after a search for the young man failed to trace him.
As tension mounted over the post after the Friday prayer, a group of Muslims demonstrated outside their home in the afternoon. They attacked the homes later. No attacker was arrested.
The situation was normal at night, said the police inspector.
Narail Superintendent of Police Prabir Kumar Roy said the law enforcers were working to keep the situation under control.
“We’re investigating the incident. Those responsible for the violence will face action. The situation is normal for now,” Roy said.
Police forces were deployed in the area to prevent further violence, The Daily Star newspaper reported.
“After one group looted all our valuables, another group came and found our door open. As there was nothing left to loot, they set our home on fire,” the paper quoted Deepali Rani Saha, a resident, as saying.
Deepali’s house was among homes and dozens of shops that were vandalised or burnt down in Sahapara village.
A former female member of the reserved seat in Dighalia Union Parishad said most of the able-bodied people have left the village after the attack.
“Almost all houses are locked. Only the elders of some families are home. They too are scared,” she said.
“Police are on guard in the village, but we cannot trust them,” the newspaper quoted 65-year-old Shibnath Saha, president of the village’s Radha-Govinda temple, as saying.
Attacks on religious minorities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh are increasing and many of them happened after rumours or fake posts spread through social media, bdnews24.com said.
Last year, some Hindu temples in Bangladesh were vandalised by unidentified Muslim bigots during the Durga Puja celebrations, prompting the government to deploy paramilitary forces in 22 districts after four people were killed and many others injured in riots.
According to a report by legal rights group Ain O Salish Kendra, 3,679 attacks were carried out on the Hindu community in Bangladesh between January 2013 and September 2021.