Four people have been arrested in connection with attacks on Hindu temples and members of the community in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, the police today said as villagers at the heart of the attacks formed neighbourhood watch teams to keep vigil. Police arrested the four last night for their alleged involvement in the attacks in the Hindu-dominated Nasirnagar upazila of Brahmanbaria, the Daily Star reported citing the officer in-charge of the local police station. With that, the total number people arested for the attacks last week by a group of religious zealots have reached 78. At least 100 homes and five temples were vandalised and torched by the mob after a Facebook post deemed offensive to Islam.
Kasipara is one of the six Hindu-dominated areas in Nasirnagar union that came under the attack. Neighbourhood watch teams have been formed in each of the Hindu-dominated areas of the union including Banikpara, Akhrapara, Thakurpara, Hashpatalpara and Dattapara after the attacks on the nights of November 3 and 5, the report said.
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“I came to my village [on Tuesday afternoon] and learnt that someone from my family would be with the vigilance team at night,” Dhonu Das, a third-year student of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University in Gazipur, told the daily. “My younger brother was supposed to join, but I decided to do the job as he has a class in the morning.”
Das is one of the five youths who were in the vigil team gurading the Kasipara village on Tuesday night. According to the report, a team of eight people comprising members from Hindu and Muslim communities were guarding Namasudrapara village Wednesday night. Majority of the residents in the Hindu localities are poor fishermen, farmers and small traders, and they depend on their daily earnings to feed their families.
And, thus, guarding the village at night is an added responsibility for them. “We guard the village throughout the night. But we have to work during the day as we have no alternative means of earning a livelihood,” said Jamal Hossain, a trader in Nasirnagar.
But Nasirnagar Police Station’s Officer-in-Charge Abu Jafar welcomed the move to guard the villages at nights by the residents. “This is certainly helpful for us to maintain law and order following the incidents of attacks,” he told the daily. Many Hindu families have deserted their houses following the attacks and have taken refuge in neighbouring areas. Tension have escalated in the neighbourhood.