Bangladesh: Hundreds Arrested For Violence Against Hindus

‘Worst unrest for over a decade’ – 450 people have been arrested after severe violence against ethnic minority, reports state

Attacks on Hindu temples have intensified in Bangladesh since last Wednesday after alleged blasphemous posts surfaced on social media involving the Quran, during the Durga Puja celebrations.

Several Hindu religious sites have been vandalised, and homes attacked.

Authorities have filed 71 cases in connection with the violence during the Hindu festival of Durga Puja, a Bangladesh police spokesman said. Investigations were ongoing after the arrest of 450 suspected culprits, he added.

Communal tensions have long simmered in Bangladesh, whose constitution designates Islam as the state religion but also upholds the principle of secularism.

Whilst Hindus make up around 10% of the population, the unrest is among the worst in Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party came to power in 2009.

“Recent attacks on Hindus of Bangladesh, fuelled by hate speech on social media, are against the values of the Constitution and need to stop,” tweeted Mia Seppo, the United Nations’ resident coordinator in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed her home minister to initiate immediate action against those who incited violence using religion as she asked the people not to trust anything on social media without fact-checking.

Rights group Amnesty International called for an investigation and punishment for perpetrators.