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Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announces zero-tolerance towards attackers of Durga Puja pandals

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Furious at the attack on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned miscreants that after a thorough investigation they would be “hunted down and punished”

Furious at the attack on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned miscreants that after a thorough investigation they would be “hunted down and punished”.

"The incidents in Comilla are being thoroughly investigated. Nobody will be spared. It doesn't matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished," PM Hasina thundered.

Simultaneously, the  visibly angry Prime Minister stressed that no one will be allowed to tamper with the basic model of secular governance that guarantees  zero tolerance towards those who deliberately and mischievously try to disturb communal harmony.

"Bangladesh is a land of communal harmony. Here, people of all faiths will live together and will practice their own religion,"  PM Hasina stressed. "Religion is for individuals and festivals are for all and we enjoy every festival together," she said while exchanging greetings with people of the Hindu community during an event at Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka on the occasion of Durga Puja.

As reported in the media, on October 13, during the Durga Puja, there were attacks on mandaps, pandals and temples in Cumilla after the alleged desecration of the religious text of Muslims by placing it near the feet of the idol of goddess  Durga at a pandal.

“An accused, Faiz Ahmed of Raghurampur area in Cumilla city, was arrested in connection with a video that went viral on social media, following which angry mobs vandalised several mandaps and temples," said Superintendent of Police Faruk Ahmed told the Daily Star on Thursday.

According to the Hindustan Times, there were violent attacks on pandals in Noakhali, Chandpur, Cox’s Bazaar, areas around Chattogram, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Moulvibazar and Kurigram. Due to the promptness of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, which was in touch with the Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies, there were no disturbances in Dhaka, Brahmanbaria, Jashore and other major cities.

The report, citing the various intelligence sources, says that hardliner Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Bangladesh is behind the whole incident. From putting the Muslim religious book in the place of Durga puja with an intention to generate communal violence.

But miscreants did not succeed in their devilish intentions.

“We have also seen some disturbing reports of untoward incidents involving attacks on religious gatherings in Bangladesh,” said Arindam Bagchi, the spokesman of India's External Affairs Ministry adding that India has appreciated the "prompt" reaction of the government of the country to control the situation.

Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh is a pro-Pakistan — very Islamist, anti-democracy, anti-secular” driven to form Islamist state, toppling Bangladesh’s progressive democratic model .

The Hasina government has banned Jamaat-e-Islami for its role in the 1971 war and for orchestrating terror attacks and promoting terror, allegedly at Pakistan’s behest. Top Jamaat leaders have also been executed for war crimes and for their role in perpetuating genocide between April and December 1971.

According to the HT report, buoyed by the occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban, the JEI has been responsible for fanning communal flames. In fact, the daily pointed out that the JEI had coined the slogan “ Bangladesh Banega Afghanistan” as part of its politically motivated drive to radicalise the youth towards ultra-conservative Islam.

“The basic idea behind the October 13 incident was to embarrass Bangladesh’s government credentials and force a reaction from India,” it quoted a Dhaka-based diplomat as saying.  By radicalising the youth, the JEI, which is deeply networked with other pro-Taliban groups, hopes to use them as cannon fodder to target the Sheikh Hasina government.

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