Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister M Hasan Mahmud on Thursday blamed opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and pro-Pakistan elements for the recent communal violence in the country during Durga Puja.
Addressing the media at Kolkata Press Club, Mr Mahmud said, “The people of Bangladesh and West Bengal are well aware of who is behind this. Some parties like BNP and Jamaat believe in communalism and they capitalise on it and create instability.”
“You all know that even during the country’s liberation struggle (1971), there were some people who supported the Pakistani army. Don’t forget that their descendants are still there,” added the Bangladesh minister.
Violence had erupted in pockets of Bangladesh over an alleged blasphemy incident at a Durga Puja pavilion at Cumilla, following which paramilitary forces were deployed in many affected areas.
Sporadic clashes broke out between the police and hardliners resulting in the vandalisation of Hindu temples and Durga puja venues.
At least five people were killed and scores injured in the clashes. Based on the analysis of the CCTV footage, the police identified Iqbal Hossain, a resident of Cumilla, as the person responsible for the incident.
The police official said he confessed to placing the Quran on the lap of the idol of Hanuman, a central character in the epic of Ramayana, before stealing the club from the idol’s hand.
He further blamed the communal politics of BNP and Pakistan for the violence in the country and stated that the Bangladesh government has taken strict action against all the culprits.
“Those in BNP do communal politics, they who follow the ideology of Pakistan, their religion first for the people. This is the difference between those people and us. Bangladesh government has taken strict action against all the culprits after communal incidents took place in different parts of the country,” said Mr Mahmud.
“When elections come, these people give anti-India, anti-Hindu slogans and also say that you people should not go to vote and these people have done this incident for political purpose,” Mr Mahmud said.
He said that atrocities on the Hindu community were one such attempt through which they wanted to incite riots across the country.
“No Hindu had kept the Quran in the puja pandal. In the end, the investigation revealed that a Muslim named Iqbal had done it under provocation. Agencies are probing the matter and strict action is being taken,” he added.
“In Bangladesh, we do not believe in minorities. Everyone is Bangladeshi and this is our first identity. The festival of worship is not only for Hindus as we all participate in it and so is the case with Eid, which is celebrated by all,” added the minister.
“When Eid is celebrated in Bangladesh, not only Muslims but people of all religions take part in it and the same happens in India. Out of over 32,000 pujas, only five or six were attacked by some people who are trying to communalise Bangladesh’s politics,” he said.