Police yesterday pressed charges against 228 suspects including several Awami League and BNP leaders for the attacks on Hindu communities in Nasirnagar 13 months ago.
Officer-in-Charge Abu Zafor of Nasirnagar Police Station submitted the charge sheet to Brahmanbaria Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.
He said three suspects had made confessional statements and nine of the over 60 witnesses named in the eight-page charge sheet had given their accounts of last year's mayhem.
Citing the charge sheet, the OC said the attack was carried out to “hurt religious sentiments and destroy communal harmony through vandalising religious establishments of the Hindu community”.
The charges were pressed in the case filed by Nirmal Chowdhury, general secretary of Gaur Mandir, a temple vandalised on October 30 last year. Over 1,000 unnamed persons were accused in the case.
Some of the men named in the charge sheet include AL leader and former UP chairman Abul Hashem, sacked UP chairman Dewan Atikur Rahman Ankhi, former joint secretary of Nasirnagar upazila AL Sheikh Md Abdul Ahad, local AL leaders Faruq Mia and Suruj Ali, BNP leaders Abdul Hannan, Jamal, Amirul Hossain Chakdar, mosque imam Mukhlesur Rahman and president of a religious organisation Zakir Hossain.
Court Inspector Mahbubur Rahman said the charge sheet would be placed before the court today.
Most of the suspects are from Srighar, Chapartola, Nurpur, Nasirnagar, Haripur, Horinber, Shankardaha, Ashurail, Buriswar, Atukora, Jethagram, Datmandal and Kunda villages.
Nasirnagar police officials said they sent the charge sheet to the police headquarters for its approval on December 3.
Inspector Shawkat Hossain, who investigated the case, also charged five children and recommended their trial be held at a juvenile court.
On October 30 last year, religious zealots attacked at least 15 temples in Nasirnagar and vandalised idols.
They also vandalised and looted about 100 Hindu homes and beat up over 100 Hindu locals over what was claimed a Facebook post from the account of Rasraj Das, 27, a resident of Haripur union, about 13km from the place of the attack.
Six more Hindu houses were set afire in the area a few days later. The house of Nasirnagar UP Vice-Chairman Anjan Deb was also attacked.
After the attacks, as many as eight cases were filed accusing some 2,000 people.
So far, 124 suspects, including prime suspect Dewan Atiqur Rahman Ankhi, have been arrested and produced before the court. All of them are now on bail.
Meanwhile, AL Lawmaker Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury harshly criticised The Daily Star for running a report on the attacks while speaking at Brahmanbaria Press Club yesterday.