53 arrested over attack on Rangpur Hindu houses

The savagery of the attackers has left dozens of Hindu families homeless and penniless

More than 30 homes belonging to Hindu families in Rangpur’s Thakurbari Village were ransacked and looted before being set on fire by a mob over a rumoured Facebook post on Friday.

The situation in Thakurbari Village is still tense, as a man was killed when police opened fire to ward off the angry mob that turned violent and launched the arson attack on Hindu homes.

Police filed two cases over the incident at Kotwali and Gangachara police stations. So far, 53 suspects have been arrested, Rangpur’s Additional Superintendent of Police Zakir Hossain said.

Rangpur Deputy Commissioner Wahiduzzaman said they had formed a three-member committee to look into the incident. The committee has been asked to file a report within seven days.

The savagery of the attackers has left dozens of families homeless and penniless. Many victims are yet to return to their homes over concerns of further attacks.

One of the victims, Dulali Rani told the Dhaka Tribune: “A mob came to our neighbourhood on Friday afternoon and started ransacking our home without any provocation. They even took our cattle.

“They burned everything, even my cooking pots. We do not have a place to sleep at night, and no way to cook food.”

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Several villagers pointed out that if someone posted a derogatory status on Facebook, hold that one person accountable for his or her action.

Many residents of Thakurbari village said they had heard about the Facebook status, allegedly posted by a native of Thakurbari village named Titu Roy, but very few admitted to seeing it.

One of the witnesses, Monmoth Chandra said thousands of protesters from six nearby villages banded together after the Jumma prayers, and attacked the Hindu neighbourhood.

“The mob pelted stones at our homes. We ran away fearing for our safety. The attackers then looted our homes and set them on fire,” he added.

Titu Roy, who allegedly posted the Facebook status, lives and works in Narayanganj’s Fatullah.

Bhupen Sarker, who lives in Thakurbari, demanded that an investigation be launched to determine whether Titu’s Facebook ID was hacked. He also demanded exemplary punishment for those who rallied the locals to engage in violence, looting and arson.

Meanwhile, sources from law enforcement agencies said a large number of policemen had been deployed in the area.

On Friday evening, Rangpur Range DIG Khandaker Golam Faruq, DC Wahiduzzaman and Superintendent of Police Mizanur Rahman visited the spot.

They assured that the victims of the attack would be compensated and rehabilitated.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Saifur Rahman said the situation in Thakurbari Village was under control.

This story was reprinted courtesy of the Dhaka Tribune.

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