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Bangladesh violence: 18 bombs found near temple; tension in 22 districts, over 100 arrested

Border Guard Bangladesh and RAB personnel have been deployed in 22 districts, including Chandpur, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Sylhet, Chittagong and Gazipur, where remains grim after Thursday's attacks and clashes. 

Bangladesh violence: 18 bombs found near temple; tension in 22 districts, over 100 arrested
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Dhaka, First Published Oct 15, 2021, 8:54 AM IST
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Tension prevails in 22 districts of Bangladesh after the communal violence that started from Chandpur district on October 13 during Durga Puja. 

Over 100 people involved in the violence have been arrested. To recall, a number of  Hindu temples were attacked in the Chandpur district by Islamic fundamentalists during Durga Puja. Four people died in the violent clashes. 

Rapid Action Battalion, which is continuously searching the areas of violence, has found 18 bombs near a temple in Khulna district's Rupsha Upazila. Lt Col Mustaq Ahmed, director of RAB-6, confirmed the recovery to local media outlets.

Border Guard Bangladesh and RAB personnel have been deployed in 22 districts, including Chandpur, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Sylhet, Chittagong and Gazipur, where remains grim after Thursday's attacks and clashes. 

The authorities had to deploy large contingents of BGB personnel, police and RAB in different parts of the country to bring the situation under control. BGB's Director of Operations Lt Col Faizur Rahman said personnel were deployed following requests made by deputy commissioners and on the instructions of the country's Home Ministry. 

Over 100 people have been arrested for vandalizing Hindu temples. Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal had said on Thursday that officials had identified several of the attackers.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that those behind the violence during Durga Puja in Kamila city will not be spared. 

Those who are guilty deserve appropriate punishment so that such communal acts are not repeated, she said.

Meanwhile, back in New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said that it was in touch with the high commission officials and noted the strict action taken by the Bangladesh government.

Why the violence flared up?

The communal clashes seem to be well-planned. On Wednesday morning, the police received a call on this 999 hotline claiming that a copy of the Quran has been found at a Durga Puja pavilion on the banks of Nanuar Dighi in Comilla.

Around 10 AM, a photograph spread like a wildfire on social media allegedly showing the Quran on the lap of a Hindu idol.

Awami League Organizing Secretary and Parliament Whip, Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon, along with a team of central leaders of the ruling party, visited the site. He said religious fundamentalists had helped the issue escalate at a rapid pace. It was a well-planned move.

On Wednesday night at 8.15 pm, a procession was taken out in the Hajiganj municipal area of ​​Chandpur under the banner of 'Tauhidi Muslim Janata'. Stones were pelted at Laxminarayan Akhara from the procession. The protesters also attacked the police, forcing the latter to open fire. Three people died on the spot, while another succumbed to injuries in the hospital. 

According to Chandpur SP Milan Mahmood, at least 50 were injured, including police officers. The deceased were identified as Al Amin (18), Yasin Hussain (15), Shamim (19) and Bablu (30). Following this, the local administration imposed Section 144 in the Hajiganj Bazar area at 11 pm on Wednesday night. Later, two platoons of BGB were deployed to keep the situation under control. 

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