DHAKA (TIP): Bangladesh police on Thursday arrested a sub-district chairman and local leader of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) for inciting attacks on Hindus and temples in southeastern Chittagong as minorities appeared to be targets of past two weeks of violence over 1971 war crimes trial. “Police and (elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion) RAB teams jointly arrested Banshkhali upazila chairman Alamgir Kabir Chowdhury on charges of inciting violence against Hindu community and attack on their temples and property,” a police official in the port city of Chittagong told PTI by phone.
Chowdhury’s arrest came two weeks after suspected activists of Jamaat and its student affiliate Islami Chatra Shibir went on rampage at their southeastern stronghold attacking and vandalizing several houses and temples of Hindu community alongside the local government establishments.
They launched a violent protest against the death penalty awarded to one of their stalwarts Delwar Hossain Sayedee by a special tribunal for 1971 war crimes charges. Banskhali was one of the areas where the followers of the Hindu faith came under attacks during the recent violence which saw deaths of over 70 people, including six policemen, while several dozen Hindu temples were vandalized.
Analysts said JI activists attacked Hindu villages and places of worship largely to spark reaction in India as the extreme right-wing party felt attacking minorities could divert public attention from the war crimes trial.
The law enforcement agencies enforced a strict vigil against violence against Hindus while the high court issued several directives for the protection of the minorities. “A sense of fear is still there among the Hindu community although no fresh violence was reported in the past two days … we are disappointed that the lawmakers of the (ruling) Awami League and main opposition BNP and peoples representatives at local levels are not taking initiatives for social and political resistance,” Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad vice-president Kazal Debnath told mediaperson. “This apathy (of the MPs and local representatives) gave them (attackers) a walkover but unless they intervene immediately the minority community could be exposed to more violence,” he said.