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The police on Sunday, have arrested 10 people in a case of vandalism of four temples, several idols, six shops and some houses of Hindu people in Shiali village of Rupsha Upazila, in southern Khulna, a senior police official informed.
According to reports, the incident took place on Saturday afternoon following which tension gripped the area forcing the authorities to deploy additional police force.
The locals said, a group of female devotees took out a procession at around 9 p.m. on Friday from the Purba Para temple to the Shiali crematorium. They had crossed a mosque on their way, during which the Imam, preacher of the mosque, shouted and objected to the procession. This led to a heated argument between the Hindu devotees and the Islamist cleric. It was decided that the matter would be taken up with the police on Saturday.
The arrests have been made following a complaint filed on Saturday night. The police, however, did not specify that who was charged in the case and who was arrested.
According to the police, around a hundred attackers reached the village on Saturday at around 5:45 p.m. with weapons and started vandalism. During the violence, four temples were desecrated and a house was vandalised. Also, six shops belonging to the people from Hindu community were vandalised in Shiali village.
Shaktipada Basu, the President of local Puja Udjapon Parishad, said that the cops chased away the Hindus when they went to file a complaint at the Shiali Camp police station. Sadhan Adhikari, the chairman of Ghatbhog Union, also reached the village and informed that such an act of violence and vandalism never took place in the village before.
Basu told IANS that more than a hundred Islamists attacked with spades, sickles and carried out mass destruction. They vandalised Ganesh Mallick’s medicine outlet in the market, Srivastava Mallick’s grocery store, Sourav Mallick’s tea and grocery store, Anirban Hira and his father’s shop. When Hindus tried to intervene, the miscreants assaulted and injured them badly. Before the villagers could unite and put up a fight, the accused men fled the crime scene.
Besides, the residence of one Shibpadh Dhar was also looted by the miscreants. The ‘Govinda temple’ in his house was also vandalised. Other temples that were desecrated include the ‘Hari temple’ of Shiali Purbapara, Durga temple, and Shiali Mahasamshan temple.
Rubaiya Tasnim, Upajila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), said that she had met with local Hindu and Muslim community leaders with administration and police officials shortly after Saturday’s incident.
Tasnim said, “We, the district administration and law enforcement officials, went there immediately and meet with the locals to resolve the conflict.”
Officer-in-charge of Rupsha Police Station Sardar Mosharraf Hossain said that the situation in the area was calm. Both the UNO of Rupsa and the OC of the police station said that there was an argument between the two parties over allegations that members of the Hindu community were ‘singing’ during prayers at the mosque on Friday evening, which they described as a ‘misunderstanding’.
However, the UNO of Rupsha Upazila said that the ‘conflict’ was resolved on the same day and Saturday’s attack had nothing to do with the incident. The locals seeking anonymity accused the youth of nearby Chandpur village for orchestrating the attack.
A police team comprising of the Superintendent of Police (SP), Additional SP also reached the crime scene.
Mahboob Hassan, SP (Khulna) informed that police teams had been deployed in the area and the situation in the Shiali village was under control. He said that the cops are coordinating with the local people in this matter.