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Attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh “gravely disturbed”: US religious freedom panel

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Bangladesh police said more than 450 suspected temple attackers have been arrested so far. (file)

Lalit K Jha:

A US commission on religious freedom has said it is “seriously disturbed” by the recent wave of violence against the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh and called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to crack down on extremist elements promoting anti-Hindu sentiments. urged to do. .

Attacks on Hindu temples in Bangladesh have intensified since last Wednesday after an alleged blasphemy post surfaced on social media during Durga Puja celebrations.

Late on Sunday night, mobs damaged 66 houses in Bangladesh and set fire to at least 20 houses of Hindus.

Condemning the attack, Nadine Menza, President of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), said: “USCIRF is deeply disturbed about the wave of violence against Hindus that has erupted in Bangladesh recently”.

He said, “We appreciate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s response to the heinous crimes by sending paramilitary forces to stop the violence. However, we urge the Bangladeshi government to take action against the extremist elements inciting anti-Hindu sentiments in the country.” Huh.”

Its commissioner Anurima Bhargava said the USCIRF is particularly disturbed by the widespread attacks and sacrilege on Hindu places of worship.

“Hundreds of people have been injured and some have died in the communal violence. The USCIRF urges the Bangladeshi government to protect the rights and safety of Hindus and all religious communities in the country and hold the perpetrators of these gruesome attacks accountable,” he said. Is.”

According to an official account in Bangladesh, at least five people were killed in recent communal clashes in the country. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the casualties could be up to seven.

Police said over 450 suspected temple attackers have been arrested in different parts of the country so far and searches are on to trace more since Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hasina directed her home minister to initiate immediate action against those inciting violence using religion, as she asked people not to trust anything on social media without fact-checking .

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