A group of assailants have carried out arson attacks on a village in Rangpur’s Pirganj, leaving some 20 homes of Hindus burnt over an allegedly blasphemous social media post, police say.
Police reached Majhipara’s Jelepolli, a neighbourhood of fishermen, immediately after tension mounted on Sunday after some people had alleged that a young Hindu man of the village had posted to Facebook a content dishonouring religion, said Md Qamruzzaman, the district’s superintendent of police.
“Police stood guard around his home. That home was saved, but the attackers set fire to some other homes not so far from his,” Qamruzzaman said.
An official at Fire Service and Civil Defence’s control room said they had received the information about the fire at 9:50pm, reports bdnews24.com.
Firefighters from Pirganj, Mithapukur and Rangpur city rushed to douse the fire. They were at the scene until 3am on Monday.
There were no immediate reports of casualties. The authorities could not confirm the scale of damage, but the SP said the number of homes burnt in the attack could be between 15 and 20.
Videos claimed to be of Pirganj on social media showed homes burning in a village and police clashing with attackers. bdnews24.com could not independently verify the videos.
The incident occurred amid communal tension after the alleged dishonouring of the Quran at a Durga Puja venue in Cumilla led to attacks on Hindu places of worship and clashes between vandals and police in Cumilla, Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj, Feni and other districts.
Dozens of people have been arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media. BGB personnel were deployed to two dozen districts and security was beefed up at places of worship. The immersion of Durga idols ended the 10-day festival on Friday.
At least four people died reportedly in police firing during attacks on puja venues in Chandpur’s Hajiganj on Wednesday.
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council alleged that at least four Hindu devotees had died in the attacks in Chandpur and Noakhali.