Cumilla Mayhem: Iqbal admits to his crime, say police
Hours after his arrest, Iqbal Hossain confessed to putting the Holy Quran inside Nanua Dighir Par puja mandap in Cumilla but the motive behind it still remains unknown, police said.
In another development, Fayez Ahmed, charged under the Digital Security Act for going live on social media from the puja mandap on October 13, gave his confessional statement before a Cumilla court yesterday.
On Thursday night, Iqbal was arrested from Suganda point of Cox's Bazar sea beach after some students, who were on a trip in the tourist city, informed police of a youth who resembled the man seen in the CCTV footage that had surfaced in the media.
"He [Iqbal] confessed to his misdeed. He is being interrogated by a team of investigators to know what exactly his intention was, who guided him through the whole plan and the players behind it," M Tanvir Ahmed, additional superintendent (crime) of Cumilla police, told The Daily Star.
Asked whether any case will be filed against him, the police officer said everything would be known after the interrogation.
"The whole thing is now at the preliminary stage. We have to wait until the interrogation ends. Then high-ups of police will determine the next course of action," Tanvir added.
A team of Cumilla district police rushed to Cox's Bazar and took him to Cumilla yesterday noon. Brought by a black vehicle, Iqbal was handed over to Cumilla district police at the Police Lines around 12:35pm.
According to police, Iqbal was seen in a dozen pieces of CCTV footage taking the Holy Quran from a mosque next to a shrine, loitering through key thoroughfares of Cumilla city and heading towards the mandap.
He was also seen wandering around with a mace. The mosque is located around 500 yards away from Nanua Dighir Par puja mandap.
On October 13 morning, a mob incited by Fayez Ahmed's Facebook Live video attacked the puja mandap over the alleged demeaning of the Holy Quran.
In the video which went live at 7:00am, Fayez, a Saudi expatriate, urged people to wake up to protest the alleged defamation. The video incensed zealots across the country amid Durga Puja celebrations and led to communal violence in at least 14 districts.
Arrested earlier, Fayez yesterday admitted before a Cumilla court that he went live to "incite local people but did not realise things would go that far".
He gave the confessional statement before the court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Mithila Jahan.
Mohammad Rezwan, police super of Cumilla CID, told The Daily Star that during his two-day remand, Fayez confessed that he could not tolerate the incident and went live to incite locals.
"But I did not realise that it would create such anarchy across the country," Rezwan quoted Fayez as saying.
The police official said Fayez learnt how to operate Facebook during his days in Saudi to keep contact with his wife.
Meanwhile, a man, who was injured during an attack on temples in Cumilla on October 13, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital early yesterday.
Dilip Das, 60, breathed his last around 12:15am, said Bachchu Mia, in-charge of police outpost at the hospital. Father of two, Dilip had a laundry business in the area.
He was wounded after being hit by a brick chip at Raj Rajeshwari Kali Bari Temple in Cumilla, said his younger brother Arjun Kumar Das.
Dilip was primarily treated at a local hospital. As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to DMCH where he underwent two surgeries, said Arjun.
In Chattogram, at least 10 people, including three Chhatra Jubo Odhikar Parishad leaders, were arrested between Thursday night and yesterday morning in a case filed over attacking JM Sen Hall puja mandap on October 15.
The arrestees are Md Nasir Uddin, engineer Md Mizanur Rahman, Md Rasel, Md Emon, Yar Mohammad, Zia Uddin, Yassin Arafat, Habibullah, Imran Hossain and Md Mizan, said police sources.
Of them, Nasir, Mizanur and Rasel are leaders of Chhatra Jubo Odhikar Parishad that plotted the attack, said Nezam Uddin, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station.
With this, police have so far arrested around 100 people in connection with the violence in Chattogram, said police.
In Feni, one more was arrested on Thursday night in connection with attacks on Hindu temples and houses on October 16. The arrestee is Tawhid Islam Jisan.
With Jisan, 16 people were held in this connection in Feni, police said.
In Tangail, Sri Ramkrishna Math Ashram yesterday held a human chain in the town's Battala area, protesting recent attacks on minorities.
On Thursday night, Muhammad Kamruzzaman Sikder, OC of Begumganj Police Station in Noakhali, was withdrawn. He was later attached to Industrial Police.
Earlier, local Hindus demanded his withdrawal, bringing allegation of his negligence in duties during attacks on minorities on October 15.
A total of 102 cases have been filed in connection with the violence against the Hindu community as of yesterday, according to the Police Headquarters.
At least 583 people have so far been arrested.