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2 Hindu men killed in fresh communal violence in Bangladesh

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On Friday, more than 200 protesters attacked a temple. (file)

Dhaka:

Two Hindu people have died in fresh communal violence in Bangladesh, police officials said on Saturday, taking the death toll from the recent unrest in the Muslim-majority country to six.

Protests erupted on Wednesday after footage emerged of a Hindu deity placing the Quran on his knee during Durga Puja celebrations. Minority communities make up about 10 percent of the population.

Police said the latest violence took place in the southern city of Begumganj when hundreds of Muslims took out a street procession after Friday prayers on the last day of Durga Puja.

Shah Imran, the head of the local police station, told reporters that more than 200 protesters attacked a temple where members of the Hindu community were preparing to perform the last rites of the 10-day festival.

He said the attackers thrashed an executive member of the temple committee.

District police chief Shahidul Islam told AFP that on Saturday morning, the body of another Hindu man was found near a pond next to the temple. “Two people have died since yesterday’s attack. We are working to find the culprits,” he said.

Anti-Hindu violence spread to more than a dozen districts across Bangladesh this week after footage of the Quran incident surfaced on social media.

At least four people were killed late Wednesday night when police opened fire on a mob of around 500 people who attacked a Hindu temple in Hajiganj, one of several cities.

Community leader Gobind Chandra Pramanik told AFP that at least 150 Hindus have been injured across the country and at least 80 temporary temples have been attacked. Officials did not confirm the figures.

Hindus in a country of 16.9 crore have often been the victims of communal violence.

Local officials said they have deployed additional security, including paramilitary border guards, to control any further unrest.

Violence broke out in the capital Dhaka and Chittagong on Friday, prompting police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of brick-throwing Muslim protesters.

High-speed mobile phone internet services were snapped in an apparent bid to stop the violence from spreading.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday met Hindu community leaders and promised strict action.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, “Around 90 people have been arrested so far. We will also trace all the masterminds.”

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