53 held for attack on Hindu house

53 held for attack on Hindu house

53 held for attack on Hindu house

 At least 53 people have been arrested in Bangladesh for their alleged involvement in an arson attack on over 30 houses of Hindus following rumours that a youth from the minority community published an offensive Facebook status, media reports said on Sunday.

The police have alleged that the country's largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, a key ally of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, carried out the attack on Hindus to create unrest ahead of the next parliamentary elections, bdnews24.com reported.

"Jamaat tried to fuel unrest as elections are nearing," Rangpur Superintendent of Police Mizanur Rahman told reporters after inspecting the scene on Saturday.

He said the police have identified four persons who instigated the attacks.

The police have filed two cases over the incident at the Kotwali and Gangachara police stations and so far arrested 53 suspects, Rangpur's Additional Superintendent of Police Zakir Hossain was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune.

One person was killed when the police opened fire to disperse the crowd that torched the houses of Hindus in Rangpur district's Thakurpara village, about 300 km from Dhaka, on Friday, the report said.

At least five persons were injured when the police fired rubber bullets and lobbed tear gas shells to bring the situation under control, it said.

The protesters claimed that they were infuriated by a defamatory status published from the Facebook account of a person who hails from the Thakurbari village a few days ago, the report said.

Before the police intervened, the perpetrators had torched at least 30 Hindu houses before looting and vandalising them, the report said.

A crowd of 20,000 people had reportedly gathered from six to seven neighbouring villages before the attack was launched by a group of people, it said.

There were traffic snarls after the mob blocked the Rangpur-Dinajpur highway to protest against the police action.

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