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Bangladesh: 101 Hindu temples and Pandals, 181 houses and shops burnt by Islamists 2 days after ‘Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival’

Ironically, just two days after the cultural program came to an end, reports of Durga Puja pandal vandalism over an alleged rumor of ‘desecration of Quran by Hindus’ started to surface in the media.

The news of Hindu temples and homes being set on fire in Bangladesh by Islamists garnered global attention with everyone from the government to media to spiritual leaders condemning the systematic religious attack. 

However, just before the Hindus of Bangladesh were rendered homeless, the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in the capital city of Dhaka had concluded the ‘Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival 2021.’ 

What is Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival?

“Aiming at consolidating the harmony between Bangladesh and India through cultural exchange, Indian and Bangladesh Committee of Ganga-Jamuna Sangskritik Utsab Parshad have jointly been organizing the 10-day festival,” read a 2019 report on Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival. 

In 2021, the festival was conducted from October 01 to October 12 after a hiatus of a year due to the pandemic. While the ‘Indian cultural organizations’ could not participate this year due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions in place, over 3,500 artists from 140 local cultural organizations participated in the event. 

Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival 2021. Image Source: The Daily Star

Ganga-Jamuna Sangskritik Utsab Parshad convener Ghulam Quddus reiterated the same saying, “We have organized the cultural festival for eight years to promote cultural exchange between Bangladesh and India.”

Interestingly, the theme of the Ganga-Jamuna festival this year revolved around the ‘golden jubilee of independence of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.’

Tributes were also paid to late theatre personality Amalesh Chakraborty, who initiated the Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival in Kolkata.

State minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid while speaking at the inauguration had said, “..From our Ministry of Cultural Affairs, we want to sponsor active cultural organizations. To ensure adequate support to the appropriate organizations, we will prepare a list and hand it over to cultural icons after proper evaluation.”

‘Violence strikes on October 13’

Ironically, just two days after the cultural program came to an end, reports of Durga Puja pandal vandalism over an alleged rumor of ‘desecration of Quran by Hindus’ started to surface in the media.

A district official himself had confirmed, “The miscreants took some pictures of this and ran away. Within a few hours, using Facebook, the propaganda spread like wildfire with the provocative pictures.”

However, the Islamic extremist mob put on fire 101 Hindu temples and Pandals and 181 houses and shops in a systematic attack that went on for 10 days leaving seven dead. The violence was carried and justified basis a stray false post on Facebook. 

Violence against Hindus in Bangladesh

Several calls for help and requests to the government and Muslim community by the Hindus in Bangladesh fell on deaf ears. 

It has now come to light that the one to trigger violence against Hindus in Bangladesh is one Iqbal Hossain.

35-years-old Iqbal Hossain, son of Nur Ahmed Alam from Sujanagar area of Comilla, had reportedly placed the Quran at a Durga Puja mandap at Nanua Dighir Par in Comilla on October 13th, triggering a series of communal violence against minority Hindus in the country.

This is not the first time a false social media post was used to trigger violence against Hindus. From Bangalore riots to stone pelting in Maharashtra to vandalizing an entire Hindu village over a social media post, the template has been followed multiple times by the Islamic mobs to carry out an attack against Hindus. 

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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