Bangladesh High Court orders judicial probe into anti-Hindu attacks

Bangladesh Puja Celebration Council’s Chattogram unit organises a rally at the port city’s Andorkilla demanding punishment to those involved in the recent anti-Hindu attacks in Cumilla and other parts of Bangladesh on Monday, Oct 25, 2021. Photo: Suman Babu
The High Court has ordered a judicial investigation into attacks on Hindu temples, puja venues and homes in several districts during Durga Puja from Oct 13 to Oct 18.

It gave the chief metropolitan magistrate or judicial magistrate 60 days to investigate the attacks after hearing a writ petition filed by two Supreme Court lawyers.

In a set of rules, the panel of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah on Thursday asked why the local authorities and defendants’ inactivity and failure to prevent the attacks will not be declared illegal.

The court asked why the defendants will not be ordered to take proper steps to protect Hindu lives, properties and places of worship.

It also asked why the authorities will not be ordered to investigate the attacks in Cumilla, Noakhali, Chandpur, Feni, Chattogram and Rangpur.

The home secretary, the law secretary, the religious affairs secretary, the telecom secretary, the ICT secretary, the chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the inspector general of police, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police in the five districts and four others have four weeks to respond to the rules.     

A provocative social media campaign surrounding the alleged dishonouring of the Quran at a puja venue in Cumilla on Oct 13 triggered communal violence during which Muslim fanatics carried out attacks on temples and puja venues in the city, leaving scores of people injured.

Eight people died as violence spread to several other districts amid Durga Puja. Police arrested hundreds of people in dozens of cases over the clashes and attacks.

Lawyers Anup Kumar Saha and Mintu Chandra Saha filed the writ petition on Oct 21, seeking the orders and rules over the attacks.