Mayhem at Temples, Mandaps: ‘Aide’ to Cumilla mayor involved
The man suspected of putting the Holy Quran at a puja mandap told officers that an aide to the Cumilla mayor was among the instigators of the communal attack in the district on October 13.
Iqbal Hossen, who faces charges of placing the Quran at the puja mandap, is currently being interrogated by police on a seven-day remand.
He named Moinuddin Ahmed Babu as the one who incited the crowds at Nanua Dighir Par, where the attack took place. Moinuddin is known among locals as the personal secretary to Cumilla City Corporation Mayor Monirul Haque Sakku, said an officer with knowledge of the information provided by the suspect.
The officer, requesting anonymity, told The Daily Star that Moinuddin fled the area after the attack.
Contacted, Mayor Sakku said, "I don't have a PS. But Babu often accompanies me. I asked the police to analyse video footage to find out his role in the mayhem. If he is found guilty, he must be punished."
The mayor is currently in Saudi Arabia where he is performing Hajj.
Requesting anonymity, one of the interrogators told The Daily Star that Iqbal was as stubborn as an extremist during the interrogation.
"He is cunning and knows how to evade questions," the interrogator added.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Department was asked to investigate a case filed under the Digital Security Act over hurting religious sentiment in Cumilla.
M Tanvir Ahmed, additional superintendent of police in Cumilla, told The Daily Star that a team of police accompanied by Iqbal found the mace that the latter threw away when he placed the Quran at the puja mandap.
It was found in a bush just a few hundred yards from the puja mandap.
Iqbal told officers that he first threw it in water. "But it was floating. So, he took it back and tossed it into a nearby bush."
BNP, JAMAAT LEADERS ARRESTED IN NOAKHALI
A local Jamaat and a Swechhasebok Dal leader are among the 11 people police arrested yesterday over the arson attacks and vandalism in Noakhali on October 15.
They were arrested in an overnight raid in Chatkhil and Senbag upazilas.
Cases will be filed against them under the Digital Security Act for uploading videos and making posts on social media that instigated the mayhem.
Shahidul Islam, superintendent of police in Noakhali, told a press briefing that Harunur Rashid, 48, a Jamaat leader and former chairman of Bijbagh Union Parishad; Md Raihan, 38, assistant organising secretary of Noakhali Jubo Dal; and Foisal Bari Chowdhury, 45, joint convener of BNP in Purbo Charmotua Union Parishad were arrested.
Abdur Rahman, general secretary of Noakhali BNP, said the police are politically motivated. "Police are raiding the homes of BNP leaders and activists every night. Those arrested were not involved in the mayhem. We will call a press briefing soon."
Police filed 26 cases over the mayhem across Noakhali and arrested 192 people.
Officers in Sadullapur, Gaibandha, arrested two more suspects early yesterday over the attacks on a fishing village in Pirganj.
The suspects, Abdullah Al Mamun, 23, and Omar Faruk, 24, used petrol to set fire to the houses of Hindu villagers, police said.
Biplob Kumar Sarkar, superintendent of police in Rangpur, said Mamun has been a Shibir activist since 2012 and Faruk was an Imam of a mosque near Pirganj Bus Stand.
A total of 66 individuals have been arrested in the four cases, he said.
In another development, a case was filed with Teknaf Police Station over the attack on a kitchen near a Buddist temple in Huyanok union of Teknaf.
Moholong Chakma, one of those injured in the attack, told The Daily Star that several girls of the Buddhist community were washing dishes at a tube-well on Sunday when some locals hurled indecent comments at them.
Some young men of the Buddhist community then went to the spot hearing the girls scream in fear, he said, adding that the young men engaged in an argument that led to a scuffle.
The young men who made the indecent comments later returned with many others and set the makeshift kitchen on fire, he added.
Bangladesh Hindu-Buddha- Oikya Parishad