Bangladesh police on Monday announced a bounty of 1 lakh Taka for information leading to the arrest or capture of the attackers of Hindu temples and homes amid mounting protests demanding stern action against the culprits. “We have announced a bounty amounting Taka 1 lakh (USD 1250) for information about whereabouts of the culprits,” Brahmanbaria’s police superintendent Mizanur Rahman told reporters. He added that 78 suspected attackers were so far arrested after detailed investigations but Hindu leaders and civil society feared that several masterminds remained beyond the ambit of law enforcement agencies.
The development came amid speculation that the attacks on Hindu temples and households were staged at Nasirnagar area of the district as part of a conflict between two influential groups of ruling Awami League. “It appears that the culprits were hired to stage the attacks to harm the reputation of the other group,” an official in Nasirnagar told reporters requesting anonymity.
Authorities have launched an intensified campaign to track down the culprits after home minister Asaduzzaman Khan warned that none of the attackers will be spared. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had also urged the people to stand with religious minorities. “As a Muslim-majority country it is the moral responsibility of all of us to take care of the minorities,” she told a conference at her office.
She added, “You have to remain careful so that no such incidents, which are taking place sporadically in different parts of the country, take place anywhere in the country.” Suspected Muslim extremists had earlier this month carried out two subsequent attacks ravaging nearly a dozen Hindu temples and over 20 households at Nasirnagar area of Brahmanbaria over an offensive Facebook post.
The Hindu community leaders and civil society activists staged a series of protests in the capital and other major cities blasting the administration for failure to protect the minority community. The statutory National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had said that the attacks on Hindu temples and households were carried out under a well orchestrated plan.
Hindu community leaders earlier said the attacks were carried out to evict Hindus from their own land creating an atmosphere of fear.