In anger over alleged blasphemy, arsonists burn down Hindu homes in Rangpur

A group of assailants have carried out arson attacks on a village in Rangpur’s Pirgonj, leaving some 20 homes of Hindus burnt over an allegedly blasphemous social media post, police say.

Police reached Majhipara’s Jelepolli, a neighbourhood of fishermen, immediately after tension mounted on Sunday after some people had alleged that a young Hindu man of the village had ‘dishonoured religion’ in a Facebook post, said Md Qamruzzaman, the district’s superintendent of police. 

“Police stood guard around his home. That home was saved, but the attackers set fire to some other homes not so far from his,” Qamruzzaman said.

The Fire Service Control Room says their report from the scene indicates that 29 residential houses, two kitchens, two barns and 20 haystacks belonging to 15 different owners were torched in Pigonj’s Majhipara. 

The report identified an ‘unruly crowd’ as the cause of the fire. The fire service received a report regarding the fire at 8:45 pm and finally put it out around 4:10 am.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Videos claiming to be from Pirgonj posted on social media showed village homes burning and police clashing with attackers. bdnews24.com could not independently verify the videos.

The incident occurred amid rising communal tension after the alleged dishonouring of the Quran at a Durga Puja venue in Cumilla led to attacks on Hindu places of worship and clashes between vandals and police in Cumilla, Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Moulvibazar, Gazipur, Chapainawabganj, Feni and other districts.

Dozens of people have been arrested over the attacks and the spread of communal hatred on social media. BGB personnel were deployed to two dozen districts and security was beefed up at places of worship. The immersion of Durga idols ended the 10-day festival on Friday.

At least four people reportedly died in police firing during attacks on puja venues in Chandpur’s Hajiganj on Wednesday.

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council alleges that at least four Hindu devotees have died in the attacks in Chandpur and Noakhali.