At least 10 Hindu houses were vandalised, as a Hindu man allegedly harassed a Muslim girl in Demra Bazar area under Faridpur upazila of the district yesterday morning.
Soon after the news of harassment spread in the area, locals caught the assaulter, Sukumar Tamli, 45, and beat him up and vandalised his tea stall at the bazar.
Yesterday around 6:30am, Sukumar reportedly intercepted a girl of class-VIII when she was heading towards her coaching centre in Demra Bazar area.
According to the victim's father, Sukumar held the girl by her hand and dragged her inside his shop to sexually assault her. But the girl somehow managed to free herself from the clutch and ran away. She later told about the incident to her friends and locals.
Enraged by the incident, locals soon thronged the market place and beat up Sukumar and vandalised his shop.
On information, police rushed to the spot and tried to rescue Sukumar, but the angry crowd beat up two policemen. Sub-Inspector Rezaul Karim and constable Sohel Rana had to be admitted to the upazila health complex.
Additional force later rushed to the spot and calmed the situation down, said Md Saiful Islam, officer-in-charge of Faridpur Police Station.
He said Sukumar had been taken to police custody and he was too undergoing treatment at the upazila health complex.
The mob later vandalised several Hindu houses in Tamlipara village of Demra union. This spread panic in the Hindu-majority locality, claimed Moloy Kundu, chairman of Demra union parishad.
Most of the Hindu traders at the market also kept their shops closed for the day, he added.
During a visit at Tamlipara, it was found that the mob had vandalised the houses of Paritosh, Sukumar, Debnath, Mohadev, Topon, Ratan and Haro, among others.
The victims alleged that the mob had looted their houses during the attack.
"The attackers damaged my house, looted the gold ornaments and vandalised all the furniture and electronic devices. The family however managed to escape to safety," said Shondhya Rani, a victim of the vandalism.
Talking to The Daily Star, Bela Rani Tamli, aunt of alleged assaulter Sukumar, said they had no problem if the wrongdoer was punished. "But attacking the innocent Hindu community over one man's fault was unfair," she added.
The Hindus at the locality are now worried of a fresh spell of attack. Most of them have already moved to safety, said villagers.
Faridpur Upazila Nirbahi Officer DM Atikur Rahman said the local administration had immediately talked to the Hindus and the Muslims of the locality and asked them to maintain harmony.