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43 arrested over Cumilla incident

BGB deployed in 22 dists

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 15 October, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
43 arrested over Cumilla incident
Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) are on patrol in Cumilla city on Thursday to assist the civil administration. - sun photo

The members of law enforcement agencies on Thursday arrested 43 people for their alleged involvement in harming the religious harmony in the country recently.

The government has deployed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel in 22 districts following the Cumilla incident on Wednesday.

Lt Col Faizur Rahman, BGB director of operations, said, “BGB personnel have been deployed to ensure security during Durga Puja at the request of deputy commissioners.

“So far we have deployed BGB personnel to 22 districts, including Cumilla and Narsingdi.”

Troops can also be deployed to the capital if the local administration requests, he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, tensions erupted among the locals in Cumilla following news on social media that the Holy Quran had been disrespected at a Durga Puja venue on the north bank of Nanuar Dighi.

As the situation started to get worse near some temples in the area, the local administration rushed to the spot and tried to bring the situation under control. The members of police also came under attack while they were trying to bring the situation under control.

Later in the afternoon, members of RAB and BGB were deployed to bring the situation under control.

Following the incident in Cumilla, vandalism has also been reported at temples in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chattogram’s Banshkhali and Cox’s Bazar's Pekua.

Police in Cumilla, in separate drives on Wednesday night, detained 43 people for their alleged involvement in the clashes.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Chittagong Range Police Anwar Hossain confirmed the arrests during his visit to the puja venue in Cumilla’s Nanua Dighir Par area on Thursday.

He said the incident was part of a plan to incite tensions. The first video of the Nanua Diphir Par incident had an extremely provocative description.

The police official said, “We have also detained one Fayez Ahmed, who initially posted the video, for questioning."

Additional security measures have been taken to avert any untoward incident. The situation in the area is peaceful now, he said.

Parliament whip Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon visited the site of vandalism at around at 11 am.

He said the country is developing and one quarter is trying to sow instability. It is clear this is part of a conspiracy.

“Do not pay heed to this incitement. Those, who cause such incidents, will be brought before the law. Have faith in us,” he told people on the spot.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Thursday said some people involved in the Comilla incident have been identified.

He told reporters after a meeting with top law enforcement officials at the Secretariat on Thursday over the prevailing situation.

The Home Minister said, “We must find out those involved in this incident. We have identified a few. We think we will be able to arrest them very soon. We are in a tough position in that place. I will take all possible steps to take legal action against those who have done this.” He further said, “Those who practise religion, they cannot cause such incidents. We believe it has been done to destroy the religious harmony in the country. After investigation we will be able to tell the reasons behind the incident. Our intelligence will find those involved and we will take action against them.”

In Chandpur, four people were reportedly killed and several others injured after clashes erupted last night following the Cumilla incident.

The deceased were  Shamim, 19, Al Amin, 18, Yeasin Hossain Hridoy, 15, and Bablu, 30.

Hajiganj Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Harunur Rashid confirmed the matter and said, “The bodies will be handed over to their families after autopsies.”

“We are preparing to file a case in this regard,” he said.

Meanwhile, seven people were arrested in connection with the clash.

At least 60 people, including journalists, police and locals, were injured in the clash that broke out on Wednesday following the Cumilla incident.

Earlier on Wednesday, a press note was issued by the Press Information Department addressing the incident. It reads, “The news of demeaning the holy Quran in Cumilla has come to the notice of the government and it is being investigated.”

Also, State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan, in an emergency announcement, said, “The authorities have noted reports of disrespecting the Holy Quran in Cumilla and necessary steps are being taken in this regard.”

“The local administration has already been instructed to investigate the matter,” he said.

Whoever is trying to destroy the country’s religious harmony will be brought to book, he also said.

The state minister also urged all to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and maintain the religious harmony, peace and discipline in the country.