Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday evening vowed to hunt down those who vandalised some Hindu temples during Durga Puja celebrations.
Three people were killed and several others injured during clashes between Muslim bigots and the police at Hajiganj sub-district in Chandpur, bordering Cumilla, on Wednesday, while a fourth person succumbed to his wounds later.
In a virtual interaction with members of the Hindu community to mark Durga Puja, Hasina warned, “Nobody will be spared. It doesn’t matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished.”
However, Hasina also used the occasion to urge India to remain vigilant against escalation of any communal violence. We expect that nothing happens there (in India), which could influence any situation in Bangladesh affecting our Hindu community here,” Hasina said.
The Telegraph quoted Hasina as saying, “You all know that those who came to power in our country after 1975 used religion to divide people… The rise of global terrorism also has had its impact on our country. Countering this is not only our responsibility, and neighbouring countries like India should also remain vigilant… India did help us in the liberation war (of 1971) and we will remain ever grateful for the support… But they (India) have to be aware that such incidents should not take place there which would have an impact on Bangladesh, and the Hindus in our country face attacks.”
“Some people are religiously blind and they always want to create communal conflicts. These people belong not only to the Muslim community, but belong to other religious faiths as well,” The Independent quoted Hasina as saying.
The ‘advice’ by Hasina to India comes amid reports of growing wariness in Bangladesh over contentious measures by the Narendra Modi government such as the revocation of Article 370 and passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi media outlet, reported “almost 100” people had been arrested in multiple districts in connection with the violence that happened at Cumilla.
“Teams of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed in Cumilla, Narsingdi, Munshiganj and 19 other districts to ensure security during the Durga Puja celebrations,” The Daily Star reported.
(With PTI inputs)