Police arrest Shibir activist, imam with alleged ties to Pirganj arson

Police have arrested an activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami, and a local imam over their suspected involvement in arson attacks on Hindu houses in Rangpur’s Pirganj.

The suspects were identified as Mamun Mondal and Omar Faruk. Mamun was apprehended in Gaibandha's Sadullahpur and Omar in Pirganj's Ramnathpur on Sunday, according to Suresh Chandra, chief of Pirganj Police Station.

“Mamun was actively involved with Chhatra Shibir from 2012. Later, he lived in Malaysia for some time. Omar Faruk has been the imam at Pirganj South Bus stand mosque,” said Superintendent of Police Biplob Kumar Sarkar.

An angry mob burnt down Hindu homes in Majhipara village on Oct 17 over an alleged blasphemous post on Facebook.

Shibir activist Mamun ‘sprinkled petrol and lit the fire’ that night, said Suresh Chandra.

As many as 15 families lost all of their belongings when 21 houses were burnt. The arsonists also looted their belongings.

A total of three cases were filed under the Digital Security Act over the incident, while a separate case was filed over the vandalism and arson attack. Police have arrested 68 people in connection with the cases so far.

The arrestees include Shaikat Mandal, an expelled leader of the Bangladesh Chhatra League. He was removed by the ruling party's student affiliate for inciting communal violence through social media posts on Oct 18. Later, RAB arrested him from Pongi in Gazipur. Shaikat has given a confessional statement to a court.


Police have arrested 11 more people, including a BNP leader, in connection with the religiously motivated attack on a Hindu puja venue in Noakhali.

They were apprehended during raids at different parts of the district over the last 24 hours, said Superintendent of Police Shahidul Islam.

On Oct 15, the last day of Durga Puja, the assailants attacked, vandalised and set fire on the places of worship and homes of Hindus in Noakhali’s Choumuhani. A person died from cardiac arrest during the attacks while police recovered another body from a pond the next day.

As many as 26 cases have been filed over the attacks, with police arresting 192 suspects so far, according to Shahidul.  Among them, 63 are named in the case documents and 59 are unnamed suspects.

However, Abdur Rahman, the general secretary of the BNP Noakhali district chapter, said that leaders and activists of the party and its affiliates are being targeted and deliberately harassed over communal violence.

“Even though the incident took place in front of the law-enforcement agency, they failed miserably to bring it under control. Now they are arresting and harassing innocent leaders and workers of our party to cover up their failure."