Iqbal Hossain, key suspect in anti-Hindu violence, taken to Cumilla

Iqbal Hossain, who was arrested from Cox's Bazar for allegedly placing a copy of the Quran at a Durga Puja venue which triggered a series of deadly attacks on Hindus across the country, has been taken to Cumilla.

He was identified as the same man seen in the CCTV video footage of the incident in Cumilla, said the district's Superintendent of Police Faruque Ahmed.

Iqbal was arrested at Cox’s Bazar sea beach about 10 pm on Thursday, said Rafiqul Islam, additional superintendent of police of the district.

Police officials in Cumilla said Iqbal, 35, son of Noor Mohammad Alam of Khanqah Mazar neighbourhood in the city’s Sujanagar, had worked as a painter

Informed of the matter, a team of detective police led by Additional SP Sohan Sarkar went to Cox's Bazar and brought Iqbal to Cumilla at 12 pm. He was initially taken to the Police Lines for interrogation, but is likely to be shifted to the police superintendent's office.

Police have confirmed from the security camera footage that the arrestee is the man who “placed the copy of the Quran” at the puja venue in the city’s Nanua Dighir Par in the wee hours of Oct 13, said SP Faruque Ahmed.

Several temples and puja venues in the city came under attack in the afternoon as tension mounted after a video of placing a book at the Durga Puja venue went viral. Many shared the video calling for attacks on Hindu sites alleging sacrilege.

Police said seven people died as communal violence spread to other parts of Bangladesh. The law enforcers have arrested 450 people in 72 cases over the attacks and clashes.

Rana Dashgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, questioned the description of Iqbal as a “vagabond” by some media outlets that cited sources. 

“How did a vagabond recognise the Holy Quran? How did he get a new book? Who gave it to him? And he removed Hanuman’s Gada carefully without damaging the hand before placing the Holy Quran there. It can’t be a vagabond’s work.

“Conspirators are behind the incident. It is the responsibility of the state and the government to find them out.”