At least 28 houses of Hindus were ransacked at Bakhsitarampur village in Homna upazila of Comilla on Sunday in an attack prompted by rumours that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had been defamed in Facebook posts by some Hindus.
Police have arrested 12 people for instigating violence and resorting to vandalism, Md Tofazzal Hossain Miah, deputy commissioner of Comilla, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Police, quoting witnesses, said several hundred people from Panchkipta village stormed the homes of Hindu families at the nearby Bakhsitarampur village around 3:00pm on Sunday after a rumour spread in the locality that two Hindu youths posted defamatory comments on social networking website Facebook about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
In a state of panic, the Hindus fled their homes. However, no injury was reported.
Aslam Shikder, officer-in-charge of Homna Police Station, said police detained Utshab Das and Srinibas Das over the rumours, but the two denied posting any such remark on Facebook. A victim filed a case with the police station in this regard. A special operation was underway to nab the culprits, said DC Tofazzal Hossain Miah.
The district administration and police have been put on alert. Additional police force has been deployed at the remote village.
The district administration suspected that a religious fanatic group was responsible for the attack.
Soon after the attack, the upazila nirbahi officer visited the spot and distributed Tk 1,000 among each of the victim families.
Yesterday, the DC gave Tk 5,000, two bundles of corrugated tin and 20 kg of rice to each of the families.