One youth died and homes were burned when violence erupted November 10 in Thakurpara, a majority Hindu village in Rangpur Sadar in Northern Bangladesh. The mob of some 20,000 was incited by rumors that a Hindu resident defamed Islam in a Facebook posting.
“We were dumbfounded as we didn’t know what was going on and why,” one of the victims told ucanews.com. “We fled our houses as a mob vandalized our property, and 15 houses were burned down. Now we are penniless and we have nothing to eat and wear.”
Police responded and at one point fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to control the situation. Six people with bullet injuries were admitted to Rangpur Medical College Hospital, among them a youth named Hamidul Islam who succumbed to his injuries later.
Members of the fast-diminishing Hindu population in Bangladesh say it’s really about seizing property and driving members of the Hindu religion out of the Muslim-majority nation.
“We have arrested 53 people and we suspect the perpetrators might have exploited the religious sentiment of Muslims to carry out the violence,” said Mizanur Rahman, police superintendent of Rangpur district. “It was a premeditated attack by members of Jamaat-e-Islami (the largest radical Islamist political party in Bangladesh). They held a rally on Friday morning on the issue. Most of the perpetrators are local activists of the party.”
In a statement on Nov. 11, Jamaat denied any involvement in the violence.
“The allegations are baseless. Polices are trying to shield real culprits by blaming it on Jamaat,” it read.
Jamaat-e-Islami in Muslim-majority Bangladesh aims to establish sharia law and implement Quranic punishments.
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