13 more held for communal violence in Bangladesh

DHAKA: Police have arrested 13 more suspects, including a local cleric, for the recent spate of violence against the minority Hindu community during Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh, according to media reports on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, police arrested Mamun Mondal, who is an activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami, and Omar Faruk, a local cleric, on Sunday from different locations. "Mamun was actively involved with Chhatra Shibir from 2012. Later, he lived in Malaysia for some time. Omar Faruk has been the imam at Pirganj South Bus stand mosque," a police official said. An angry mob on October 17 damaged 66 houses and set on fire at least 20 homes of Hindus in Rangpur district's Pirganj upazila over an alleged blasphemous online post amid protests by the minority community against temple vandalism incidents during Durga Puja celebrations. Pirganj police officer-in-charge Suresh Chandra said that Mamun "sprinkled petrol and lit the fire" on the night of the violence. According to a report in Dhaka Tribune, the duo has admitted to the allegations during preliminary interrogation.

Police have so far arrested 68 people, including key suspect Shaikat Mandal, in connection with the violence. Mandal confessed that it was his Facebook post that led to the violence in Rangpur on October 17. Meanwhile, police have arrested 11 more people, including a Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, in connection with the violence against the Hindu community in Noakhali on October 15, the bdnews24.com report said.