Several incidents of attacks on Durga Puja pandals and idols have been reported from Bangladesh, prompting the government to deploy paramilitary force in 22 districts. Besides, four people were killed and many others injured in riots.
According to reports, there were violent attacks on pandals in Noakhali, Chandpur, Cox’s Bazaar, areas around Chattogram, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Moulvibazara and Kurigram. However, there were no disturbances in Dhaka, Brahmanbaria, Jashore and other major cities.
A home ministry spokesperson said that the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) troops have been deployed in 22 districts across the country to stop the spread of violence.
The elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the armed police were also ordered to be on guard with the BGB in 22 of the 64 administrative districts and elsewhere to contain any violence, he said.
Reportedly, the police have so far detained 43 people in connection with the violence.
Ruling Awami League general secretary and road transport minister Obaidul Qader said that "fanatic elements" staged attacks on Hindu temples at 10 to 12 places with a political motive.
"But our government led by (Prime Minister) Sheikh Hasina will not let them proceed with their evil design," he told reporters visiting a Puja pavilion at the Ramkrishna Mission in Dhaka.
He cautioned people against spreading rumours to sever the interfaith harmony in the country, adding that Hasina has ordered stringent actions against the communal elements.
"We will remain alert," the minister added.
Besides, the religious affairs ministry has issued an emergency notice, urging members of the public not to take the law into their hands as it reiterated calls to maintain communal harmony and peace.
Meanwhile, according to reports, Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) orchestrated the violent attacks.
MEA says Indian high commission in touch with authorities
India has termed the reports of violence in Bangladesh during Durga Puja "disturbing" and said the Indian High Commission along with the consulates are in close contact with the government and local authorities.
Speaking at a media briefing in the national capital, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said New Delhi has noted the prompt action of the Bangladesh government to ensure the control of the situation.
"We have seen disturbing reports of untoward incidents, involving attacks on a religious gathering in Bangladesh. We note the government of Bangladesh has reacted promptly to ensure the control of the situation including deployment of law enforcement machinery," Bagchi said, when asked about India's reaction to the incident.
"We also understand the ongoing festive celebration of Durga puja continues with the support of the government of Bangladesh agencies and a large section of the public. Our high commission and our consulates are in close contact with government and other authorities and at the local level," he added.
For the unversed, Hindus make up some 10 per cent of Muslim-majority Bangladesh's 169 million population.
(With ANI and PTI inputs)