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Protesters at Shahbagh demand ‘highest punishment’ for anti-Hindu attacks

  • Dhaka University Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-10-18 13:39:27 BdST

A protest at Dhaka’s Shahbagh has called for the arrest and ‘highest punishment’ of those who perpetrated the recent attacks on the temples, homes and businesses of the Hindu community across Bangladesh.

The protesters also demanded compensation for the victims among a list of seven demands.

Several hundred Dhaka University students and a group under the banner of ISKCON at Swamibag Ashram, gave the government 24 hours to respond.

Students from Jagannath Hall and other dormitories joined the ISKCON followers at the intersection around 10:30 am on Monday.

The protesters obstructed the intersection for three hours before announcing the list of demands at 2:15 pm and ending the demonstration.

The protest resulted in heavy traffic congestion in Paltan, the Science Laboratory area, Bangla Motor, and the road leading to the TSC. The congestion gradually eased after the protest ended.

The list of demands was announced by Joydeep Dutta, former literary editor of Jagannath Hall Student Council and protest convener.

“If the government does not accept our demands within 24 hours, or does not contact us for discussions, we will announce another protest tomorrow afternoon,” said Dutta. “That demonstration will be even harsher.” 

Bangladesh has seen a series of anti-Hindu attacks in the past few days after allegations that the Quran had been ‘dishonoured’ at a Hindu temple during Durga Puja sparked violence in several districts.

At least six people have been killed during attacks in Chandpur, Chattogram, Noakhali, Feni and other areas.

Despite the deployment of additional security personnel, 29 homes belonging to the Hindu community were burned in Rangpur’s Pirgonj on Sunday night after a local Hindu youth was accused of making a Facebook post allegedly ‘blasphemous to religion’.