DMP to boost surveillance at temples to prevent communal attacks

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commisioner Md Shafiqul Islam has instructed the law-enforcement agency to ramp up security measures at temples and other places of worship in the capital to prevent any more anti-communal violence.

The directive was issued during discussions on the recent anti-Hindu attacks around the country at the Police Headquarters on Sunday.

“We have to be more active, vigilant and boost our investigative watch [over temples] to prevent such incidents in Dhaka,” Shafiqul said.

Police presence has been increased at prominent puja venues to ensure security, while the cyber crime unit has been instructed to keep an eye on social media for provocative content, according to the commissioner.

Shafiqul added that the zonal DCs will declare solidarity with all those who are protesting the disruption of communal harmony around the country.

On Oct 13, several temples were under attack in Cumilla over alleged besmirching of the Quran at a venue for Durga Puja celebrations.

As communal tensions flared, the violence spread to Chandpur, Chattogram, Noakhali, Feni, Rangpur and other regions of the country where the houses belonging to Hindu people, their financial institutions and temples were vandalised.

Several deaths were reported in clashes with the police as well.

Kishore Ranjan Mondal, general secretary of Dhaka Puja Celebration Committee, mentioned three “unpleasant incidents” in Dhaka after the episode in Cumilla.

“There was an attempt to attack Dhakeshwari Temple. The police arrested several suspects. Brickbats were thrown at Gulistan and Banani, leaving several people injured.”

“The police were present during the attack in Cumilla, but they did not intervene. The force handled large protest rallies of Hifazat-e Islam, then how are these attacks being carried out countrywide?”

He urged the government to take steps to come up with a law that prevents persecution of the “minority”.

Allegations of police extorting money from the public for cases and general diaries were discussed during the monthly meeting on recent crimes.

“Strict action will be taken against anyone who claims money from those who turn to the police for GDs and other aids,” he said, warning that evidence of corruption against any members of the force will be met with due punishment.