Human rights organisations, including Hindus for Human Rights, have condemned the violence targeting Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Navaratri.
“We are heartbroken to hear about the violence targeting Hindu temples in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Navaratri,” HfHR said on its Facebook page.
Minority Hindus are under attack in Bangladesh after a photo was shared on social media alleging that a copy of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, was desecrated at a puja pandal in Cumilla on 13 October 2021 during Navaratri. Angry mobs attacked Puja Pandals and temples and clashed with police, leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds injured. Police have detained at least 300 suspects while the country’s information minister Hasan Mahmud warned about further attacks.
Responding to the violent attacks on Hindu minority households and temples in Bangladesh during and after the Durga Puja, the country’s biggest Hindu festival, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Saad Hammadi, said, “Reports of a spate of attacks by angry mobs against members of the Hindu community, their homes, temples and puja pandals during the country’s biggest Hindu festival are symptomatic of the growing anti-minority sentiment in the country. Such repeated attacks against individuals, communal violence, and destruction of the homes and places of worship of minorities in Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities.”
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned the “bad elements” trying to “disturb communal harmony”.
Sheikh Hasina addressed a gathering of the Hindu community on the occasion of Durga Puja at the Dhakeswari temple in Dhaka on Thursday. She said action would be taken against the perpetrators of communal violence in Comilla.
Hindus for Human Rights has urged the Bangladeshi government to ensure the protection of religious minorities.
“We appreciate Sheikh Hasina’s condemnation of the attacks and urge the Bangladeshi government to ensure the protection of religious minorities. This includes taking action to combat egregious social media misinformation that spurs incidents like these,” HfHR said.