Bangla protesters demand law to protect minorities

Wednesday 27th October 2021 06:45 EDT

Dhaka: Demanding that the Bangladesh government should enact a new law to ensure religious freedom for everyone, protesters and academicians across the country condemned the mob attacks on the Hindu community and vandalisation of temples and idols during Durga Puja festivities. Condemning the attacks, protests were held across the country last week. The Dhaka University Teachers’ Association demanded exemplary punishment for those involved in the attacks. They also urged the government to enact a new law to ensure religious freedom for everyone. Over a hundred teachers from various departments of the university participated a human chain, voicing their demands.

Hasina orders tough action

During the weekly cabinet meeting, PM Sheikh Hasina instructed home minister Asaduzzaman Khan to initiate immediate action against those who incited violence using religion. Hasina, who joined the meeting via video, also urged the people of the country not to trust anything on social media without fact-checking. She has instructed the home ministry to remain vigilant and take steps to prevent such incidents from recurring, he said. According to media reports, six Hindus were killed in separate attacks. The foreign ministry said in a statement that domestic elements that opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan 50 years ago were still propagating their “toxic narratives to instigate violence, hatred and bigotry.”

Key suspect arrested

A 35-year-old Bangladeshi man, the key suspect behind a slew of violence against Hindus and mob attacks on temples in the country, has been arrested by security agencies, police said. Iqbal Hossain was arrested from Cox’s Bazar area after a massive hunt and is suspected to be the one who carried out the alleged blasphemous act at a Durga Puja venue in Cumilla that sparked violence across the country.

Officials said after initial interrogation Hossain would be produced before a court in Cumilla. “We expect the court to order him to be remanded in our custody. Security and intelligence agencies would interrogate him,” a police officer said.

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