Tensions are simmering as unabated targeted attacks are being carried out against Hindus in Bangladesh, attacks that started in Cumilla during Durga Puja have spread to other parts and there are reports of violence, arson and killing from various parts of the country. Earlier, giving a stern warning to perpetrators of communal violence, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that anyone involved in the attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues in Cumilla will not be spared irrespective of which religion they belong to. “They must be found. We did so in the past and will do it in the future, too. They must face due punishment. Exemplary punishment will be given so that none can dare to engage in this type of incident in future,” said the prime minister, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Speaking to ANI in a telephonic conversation, former Information Minister of Bangladesh Hasanul Haq, who is also chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on Information and Broadcasting, said these attacks are on the secular Awami League government and there is no communal tension between Hindus and Muslims on the ground. “There is no tension between Hindus and Muslims on the ground and they are living in harmony. It is an attempt by terrorists and zealots to target the secular government of Sheikh Hasina. Fear lingers that terrorists may do a sporadic attack on temples, monasteries and churches to vitiate the atmosphere and target secular Sheikh Hasina government,” he said.
Hasanul Haq expressed apprehensions that terrorists may resort to more sporadic attacks targeting minorities and asserted that the government will go to the bottom of the matter and a crackdown is being carried out. “Sheikh Hasina government is following the policy of secularism. It is our constitutional duty to protect minorities, we stand with them. Crackdown against terrorists is going on. Forty persons have been picked up,” he said. “Finger of suspicion is on terrorists. There is one overground Jamaat-e-Islami and 15 covert terror groups operating in Bangladesh,” he added. He said 32,000 pandals had been organized during Durga Puja and all Hindus and Muslims were in a festive mood. “We protected them, 50 came under attack. The government will rebuild houses, temples destroyed in the attacks,” the former minister said.