Dhaka [Bangladesh], October 24 (ANI): Despite warnings from the local puja management committee after the violence in Cumilla earlier, the Bangladesh police were underprepared for the communal attack in Hajiganj upazila of Chandpur on October 13, according to activists.
According to the local unit of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCOP), 12 puja mandaps and several Hindu homes were vandalized on October 13 and 14, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Following the violence in Cumilla, the Hajiganj puja management committee became worried and asked Chandpur police to strengthen protection for their venues. However, only three additional policemen were deployed.
Five youths were killed in the clashes after police opened fire, while 33 people were injured. The injured included 23 police officials and staff members, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Local BHBCOP unit Secretary Mithun Bhadra said a significant police force and members of Ansar are usually deployed during the puja celebrations, but only a mobile team was on duty this time. The reduced security presence may have encouraged the perpetrators of the attacks.
According to locals from Randhunimura, a procession of 10-15 teenagers was seen heading from Raychow village towards Hajiganj bridge, demanding justice over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Cumilla, reported Dhaka Tribune.
A vendor at Hajiganj Ramganj road said Hridoy, 16, one of the deceased, was with the procession. One of the protesters told him that they were going to protest as a Facebook post had called them to action.
Local vendors and citizens from Mokimabad said the procession grew as it marched and went through at least three puja mandaps in the Hajiganj bazar area. No one stopped them due to the sensitivity of the issue, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Police said ten cases had been filed with Hajiganj police station over the communal violence. Among the accused are over 3,000 unidentified persons. (ANI)