Cumilla anti-Hindu violence: CID takes charge of probe as law enforcers recover Hanuman's mace

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has been tasked with investigating the case over the anti-Hindu attacks in Cumilla's Nanua Dighir Par, triggered by the placement of a copy of the Quran at a Durga Puja venue.

Based on the information revealed by Iqbal Hossain, the key suspect in the case, during interrogation, police also tracked down the missing Gada or mace of the Hindu god Hanuman at the venue.

Iqbal, who is currently on a 7-day remand, had allegedly planted the Quran on Hanuman's lap after carefully removing the mace from the idol in the wee hours of Oct 13.

Later on Sunday night, law enforcers, with Iqbal in tow, recovered the mace from the bushes near Chowdhury Bhaban, the house of former president of Bangladesh Federal Journalists' Union Gias Kamal Chowdhury beside the Darogabari shrine in Cumilla.

After being identified by police from security camera footage of the area, Iqbal was arrested in Cox's Bazar on Oct 21.

The temporary puja venue in Nanua Dighir Par did not have a CCTV camera, but footage from a security camera at a nearby house showed Iqbal walking towards the puja venue from the Darogabari shrine of Shah Abdullah Gazipuri after 2 am.

Footage shows the man carrying something resembling a book.

On his way back from the puja venue at 3:12 am, he was seen carrying a replica of Hanuman's Gada. Locals said they found a copy of the Quran in the lap of Hanuman, a central character in the Hindu epic Ramayana, but his weapon was missing.

The Kotwali Police Station chief recovered the copy of the Quran after getting a call via the 999 national helpline. Police later arrested the man who published on Facebook a video of the officer with the Quran.

Several temples and puja venues in the city came under attack in the afternoon as tension mounted after the video went viral. Many shared the video calling for attacks on Hindu sites alleging sacrilege.

Iqbal was produced in a Cumilla district court on Saturday. Police were subsequently granted seven days to interrogate Iqbal and three other suspects in custody.

A total of nine cases have been filed over the anti-Hindu attacks in Cumilla, with police making over 50 arrests.