BCL expels key suspect Shaikat after Rangpur anti-Hindu attacks

Bangladesh Chhatra League has expelled Shaikat Mandal, who made the ‘incendiary religious’ posts on Facebook triggering arson attacks on Hindu homes in Rangpur’s Pirganj.

BCL’s Rangpur Carmichael College Unit said in a statement on Saturday that they sacked him on Oct 18, a day after the attacks left at least 23 homes burnt at Majhipara village. 

Sheikh Asif Hossain, general secretary of the organisation’s Rangpur Metropolitan Unit, said they expelled Shaikat and another member of the college unit, Tanjirul Islam, after finding evidence that they instigated the attacks through Facebook posts.   

Shaikat was the general secretary of the Philosophy Department Unit and Tanjirul was a vice-president of the college’s central unit. 

Shaikat uploaded the ‘incendiary religious’ posts on Facebook in a bid to increase his follower count, according to the Rapid Action Battalion.

The RAB also arrested Rabiul Islam, a cleric of a local mosque who helped Shaikat instigate the Muslims of the village with announcements by loudspeaker, in Gazipur on Friday.

Previously, law enforcers had said that locals had been agitated by a Facebook post by a Hindu youth that had ‘insulted’ Islam.

Police detained the Hindu youth and, alongside him, a Muslim youth who had a feud with him. The Hindu youth made a negative comment about Islam on his Facebook account and taunted the Muslim youth about it. Though he later removed it, the Muslim youth saved it and spread it, the RAB said.