Police arrest thousands after deadly sectarian violence in Bangladesh
Dhaka, Oct 17 (EFE).- Dhaka police have arrested over 4,000 people, officials said Sunday, following two days of violence between Bangladesh’s Muslim and Hindu communities.
The arrests were made at three precincts in the capital on charges ranging from vandalism, assaulting security officers, to obstruction of government duty, police said, according to local media.
Six people were killed and dozens were injured in sectarian clashes that were sparked by footage circulated on social media last week which showed the Muslim holy book Quran being placed on the knee of an idol of the Hindu god Hanuman during a religious festival in eastern Cumilla district.
The video sparked religious tensions across Bangladesh, prompting the authorities to deploy paramilitary forces in at least 22 districts of the country.
Four people were killed as crowds of Muslims clashed with police and vandalized several Hindu temples on Wednesday.
Two Hindus were killed and at least 27 people, including police officers, were injured in fresh violence on Saturday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to take tough action against the perpetrators of the temple vandalism while the religious affairs ministry has appealed for calm.
Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, a platform of minority people in Bangladesh, told EFE at least 150 temples have been vandalized and torched in the last few days.
“Demanding the implementation of the government’s zero tolerance policy against communal violence, we will observe a mass hunger strike on October 23 and hold a demonstration,” he said.
Mob violence is not uncommon in Muslim-majority Bangladesh over actions deemed to be offensive or blasphemous.