Mobs attack Hindu homes after Indian politician insults the Prophet Muhammad in TV debate
The Hindu community in Muslim-majority Bangladesh is living in fear after a leader of India’s ruling party slammed Prophet Muhammad.
Controversial comments about the revered prophet made in a TV debate at the end of May by Nupur Sharma, a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, have incensed Indian Muslims and outraged more than a dozen Islamic nations including Bangladesh.
Following Sharma’s remarks, who was then the BJP spokesperson, several Islamist political parties and Islamic organizations in Bangladesh staged protest rallies around the country demanding the boycott of Indian goods.
The protests were followed by attacks on the homes of Hindus, arrests for supporting Sharma on social media and attacks on police.
A Muslim mob attacked a house occupied by Hindus in Bagerhat district on June 12, according to district police superintendent K.M. Ariful Haque.
“The house of Dipak Sarkar, 32, in Chitalmari subdistrict in Bagerhat district was attacked by a group of Muslims but no one was hurt as the residents managed to flee,” said Haque.
“It is unreasonable to talk about what has happened in another country or who had said what, but the Hindu community is terrified”
After the incident, fear spread among the Hindu community and police were deployed in the area.
“Hundreds of Muslims attacked Dipak’s house after their march, vandalized the house and set fire to part of it. Hindu families living nearby took shelter with Muslim neighbors or fled the village out of fear,” Gonesh Sarker, 47, a Hindu resident, told UCA News.
On the same day of the attack, police arrested a young man named Amit Singh from the Kamalganj area of Sylhet district in northeast Bangladesh for posting provocative comments on social media.
The accused youth and another young man made statements on Facebook supporting the Indian politician’s comments. Shortly afterward, a mob of Muslims surrounded his home.
“When the incident was reported to us, we rushed to arrest Amit Singh. But the other person is still at large. Now the situation is calm,” said Yardous Hasan, the officer in charge of the Kamalganj police station.
“As we are a minority, we are attacked whenever something happens, but nothing happens when Islamic programs insult Hindus or Christians”
In the wake of these incidents, panic has spread among Bangladesh’s Hindu community, especially in rural areas, and minority leaders are anxious.
“It is unreasonable to talk about what has happened in another country or who had said what, but the Hindu community is terrified,” Prashenjit Singh, leader of Nilphamari district’s Hindu Council, told UCA News.
“As we are a minority, we are attacked whenever something happens, but nothing happens when Islamic programs insult Hindus or Christians. Government initiatives and justice are needed to eradicate this mentality.”
Father Anthony Sen, secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission in Dinajpur Diocese, told UCA News: “It is unfortunate for us that we are a minority in this country because all the attacks are on us.
“What a leader has said in India can be protested but attacks and arrests centered on it are not acceptable at all. The government has to work for the peace of the Hindu community.”