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19 Oct, 2021 11:35

Bangladesh police arrest 450 people linked to attacks on Hindu homes and religious sites in worst unrest for over a decade

Bangladesh police arrest 450 people linked to attacks on Hindu homes and religious sites in worst unrest for over a decade

Bangladeshi police have arrested 450 people following attacks against Hindus in the Muslim-majority country in some of the worst unrest in over a decade, which has seen Hindu religious sites vandalized and homes destroyed.

Authorities logged 71 cases linked to violence during the major Hindu festival of Durga Puja across different parts of Bangladesh, the police’s assistant inspector general said on Monday.

In the last five days 450 people have been arrested in connection with attacks on puja venues and temples, as well as Hindu homes and businesses, and for spreading rumors on social media during the religious holiday, local media reported.

The senior police official added that the number of arrests and incidents could increase as investigations are still ongoing.

Also on rt.com 4 killed as Bangladesh police fire at protesters outraged by defamatory Facebook post on Prophet Mohammed

Violence broke out on Friday when hundreds of Muslims protested in the southeastern Noakhali district over an allegedly blasphemous incident involving the Islamic holy scripture, the Koran. Two Hindu men died following that protest, the region’s police chief told Reuters, but it was not clear if their deaths were due to “unlawful assembly, or otherwise.”

On Monday, hundreds of people demonstrated in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, calling for an end to days of religious violence that have seen at least six people dead and several injured.

The United Nations’ resident coordinator in Bangladesh, Mia Seppo, condemned the turbulence on the same day: "Recent attacks on Hindus of Bangladesh, fueled by hate speech on social media, are against the values of the Constitution and need to stop”. She also called for the government to ensure an impartial probe and the protection of minorities.

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Communal tensions in Bangladesh, where Hindus account for 10% of the population, have long been a problem in the country. However, the recent religious violence ranks among the worst since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party came to power in 2009.

In 2017, a thousands-strong mob torched a Hindu village 300km from the capital after accusations that a resident had insulted the Prophet Mohammed in a Facebook post. At least 30 Hindu homes were set ablaze in the assault.

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