An angry mob vandalised at least 26 houses and a temple of the Hindu community in Pabna’s Ataikula upazila today following a rumour that a Hindu boy posted something on Facebook demeaning Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
It took around six hours for the law enforcers to bring the situation under control after the vandalism ensued around 11:00am, our Pabna correspondent reported from Ataikula.
Vehicular movements on the Dhaka-Pabna highway that remained stalled following the clash became normal around 5:00pm.
According to locals, some people showed a print out of the image of the Facebook group that demeans Islam and Prophet Mohammad at a local bazaar.
They claimed that Rajib Saha, a class X student of Miapur High School, wrote something on the page.
Infuriated at this, scores of locals rushed to Bangram village and vandalised their house. They later set fire to it.
On information, police rushed there to check the spread of violence.
Police detained Babul Saha, Rajib’s father. The youth remains missing, locals said.
Despite repeated requests by the law enforcers, the angry locals did not leave the place and locked in clash with them.
They vandalised a temple and 25 other Hindu houses in course of the clash.
Sporadic clashes among the members of police, Rapid Action Battalion and the villagers continued in phases until the evening.
Talking to The Daily Star at Ataikula Police Station, Babul Saha claimed that his son was innocent and could not write any content derogatory about Prophet Mohammad.
He blamed activists BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami for torching his house.
Rajib was busy with his academic activities around 12:00am when Babul met him for the last time, the father said.
“I did not see him since the clash erupted,” he added.
Additional forces of police were deployed in the village soon after the incident, Munshi Mohammed Moniruzzaman, additional district magistrate of Pabna told the Daily Star, adding: “We will stay here for the whole night to keep the law and order situation under control.”
While asked about the post, he said, “Primarily, we could not investigate about the Facebook page because we are busy tackling the situation.”
A similar incident of torch and vandalism took place on the night of September 29 last year when Islamist fanatics ransacked, looted and burnt 12 Buddhist temples in Ramu in Cox’s Bazar. They also looted 50 houses and torched 15 of them in Buddhist villages.
The religious bigots set fire to five Buddhist temples and ransacked two Hindu temples in Ukhia the next day. They also attacked a Buddhist village in Teknaf and ransacked 11 houses there on the same day.
The attacks were apparently triggered by a fake Facebook posting of an anti-Islam photograph tagged to a fake account of a Buddhist youth on the social networking site.