Bangladeshi radicals, who have been on a rampage ever since social media rumours of Hindus disrespecting the ‘holy Quran’ by placing it at the feet of ‘idol gods’ started spreading in the country, are now facing retaliation. Bangladeshi Islamists believed that Hindus are a persecuted minority and therefore there would not be any consequences for torching homes and businesses of Hindu families and killing innocent Hindus for a crime that they didn’t even commit.
However, Prime Minister Modi’s fear seems to be working and the panicked Sheikh Hasina government is looking to satiate India with stern action against Islamist radicals. Over 130 arrests have been made till now for the massacres that took place in several areas of Bangladesh.
Police make arrests in Chowmuhani attacks case:
The violent, communal incidents against Hindus reached a tipping point on October 15, when a group of mullahs took out a procession at the Chowmuhani market area in Noakhali’s Begumganj Upazila. They were protesting over rumours and fake news of the desecration of the Quran by Hindus at Nanuyar Dighir Par Temple in Comilla district earlier this month.
The protests soon turned into riots as the group attacked several temples located in the area, resorted to vandalism and even torched several temples establishments. In the process, an International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in the Noakhali district was attacked by a blood-thirsty, frenzied mob of 400-500 radical Islamists.
The violence at Noakhali claimed two lives- 20-year-old Pranto Das, whose body was recovered from a pond near the ISKCON temple in Chowmuhani and a 42-year-old man, Jatan Kumar Saha, who succumbed to the injuries he suffered in the violence. The police have filed 18 cases against 285 named and 4,000-5,000 unnamed accused with the offences of assault, vandalism, looting, arson and murder. 130 arrests have been made so far in the case.
How a rumour led to the killing of Hindus across Bangladesh:
The killing of Hindus doesn’t seem to be an uncommon incident. Rather it seems like a pre-planned and carefully orchestrated ethnic genocide. Iqbal Hussain, a 35-year old man, has been identified as the culprit who planted a copy of the Quran at the feet of Bhagwan Ganesha in the Durga pantheon at Nanuyar Dighir Par Temple in Comilla district.
In a video released by Bangladesh authorities, Iqbal is seen taking the Quran from a local mosque and walking into a Durga Puja venue. He was later seen walking away with the mace of Bhagwan Hanuman. Soon, rumours started flying in Bangladesh about how Quran was being desecrated by the Hindus.
A day after Iqbal Hussain placed a copy of the Quran in the Durga pantheon, the Durga Puja – the biggest Hindu festival to be celebrated in Bangladesh, came to an abrupt and violent end on October 13. Rampaging mobs of Islamist rioters ravaged the Hindu pandals and mandaps, desecrating the vigrahas and creating chaos by killing 4 people and leaving hundreds injured.
A chain of communal violence started with a rumour that Hindus were disrespecting the ‘holy Quran’ by placing it at the feet of ‘idol gods’. Idolatry is prohibited in Islam and thus, the radicals as well as fanatics of the religion took offence and went on a rampage.
How PM Modi’s fear is driving action against rioters in Bangladesh:
The Islamist attackers in Bangladesh were encouraged by a strange sense of impunity. After violence at Noakhali, Bangladesh Prime Minister said that perpetrators “must be found out”. She added, “We did so in the past and will do it in future as well,” while also underscoring that the perpetrators “must face appropriate punishments.”
Despite Hasina’s warning, violence against Hindus kept spreading throughout Bangladesh. The Sheikh Hasina government had to deploy security forces in 22 districts of her country to push back the rampaging mobs. Temples have been desecrated at several places in Bangladesh, and hundreds of homes and businesses belonging to the minority Hindu community torched.
However, the Modi government was quite clear in its approach- it lodged a strong protest following the dastardly attacks on Hindu temples and killing of the members of the minority community by Islamist mobs in Bangladesh.
From the moment, the Indian government got involved in the matter, the Sheikh Hasina government started working briskly to satiate New Delhi. Reportedly, Murad Hassan a prominent minister in the Hasina cabinet, currently holding the state minister for Information portfolio stated that Bangladesh is a secular country that would revert to the 1972 constitution proposed by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Modi government gave a very clear ultimatum to Dhaka- India and Bangladesh have been coming closer diplomatically but killings of Hindus cannot continue unabated in Bangladesh. India, despite being Bangladesh’s ally, will not remain silent and will say what needs to be said when rampaging mobs carry out a genocide against the minority Bangladeshi Hindus.
There are several things that the Modi government could have done to hurt the Bangladeshi government including trade sanctions, and identifying and banning the entry of Bangladeshi Islamist radical elements in India. It seems that the fear of such stern actions has induced a crackdown on rioters in Bangladesh.