A day after the police investigation revealed that a Muslim man named Iqbal Hossain had deliberately placed a copy of the Quran at a Durga Puja pandal in Bangladesh, new CCTV footage showed the culprit meeting a caretaker of the local Dargabari Mazar, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Hossain had collected a copy of the Quran from the local shrine and placed it at the feet of a Hanuman idol at a Durga mandap, creating a situation that later became a Facebook post and used as an excuse by Muslims to attack and burn Hindu places of worship.
Dhaka Tribune reported that the two caretakers were identified as Hafez Humayun and Faisal by the chief custodian Ahmedunnabi Mashuk. Following the meeting of the duo with Iqbal Hossain at 11 pm on October 12, caretaker Hafez Humayun left a copy of the Quran for the culprit in a closet in the adjoining mosque.
Later, Iqbal Hossain was seen collecting the ‘Holy Book’ at about 2:12 from the masjid on the night of October 13. The culprit then went to the Nanuardighi Durga Puja mandap and committed the deliberate act of ‘blasphemy’ to implicate the Hindu community.
A video of CCTV footage shared by journalist Pooja Mehta on October 21 showed Iqbal leaving the masjid with a copy of the Quran. She wrote, “CCTV footage shows one Iqbal Hossain has been identified as the main suspect – placing the Holy Quran at the Durga puja mandap in Comilla leading to violence, says Bangladesh Police. He continues to remain at large.”
#Watch| CCTV footage shows one Iqbal Hossain has been identified as the main suspect – placing the Holy Quran at the Durga puja mandap in Comilla leading to violence, says Bangladesh Police. He continues to remain at large @RadharamnDas @IskconKolkata #Comilla #Bangladesh pic.twitter.com/823SKoH9E5— Pooja Mehta (@pooja_news) October 21, 2021
35-years-old Iqbal Hossain, son of Nur Ahmed Alam from Sujanagar area of Comilla, had placed the Quran at a Durga Puja mandap at Nanua Dighir Par in Comilla on October 13th, which had triggered a series of communal violence against minority Hindus in the country. The police identified Iqbal after analysing video footage at the puja venue, informed Comilla Superintendent of Police (SP) Farooq Ahmed.
Iqbal Hossain is a drifter by profession, and it is unknown whether he has any involvement with any political party. Cumilla SP Faruk Ahmed said more details will be revealed in a press briefing on Thursday.
Arrest of Iqbal Hossain
On Thursday (October 21) night, the Cox’s Bazar police arrested the accused Iqbal Hossain at around 11 pm. The development was confirmed by the additional DIG (Crime and Operations) of Chattogram Range Zakir Hossain Khan to the Daily Star. Hossain was handed over to the Cumilla police for further probe in the matter.
After analysing the CCTV footage, it was also found that the accused incited people to commit violence in the morning and gave hate speeches against Hindus. Faruk Ahmed, SP (Cumilla district), added that 12 CCTV footage has been collected, 10 of which showed Iqbal walking with the copy of the Quran between 2:10 and 3:10 am.
Earlier, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal had informed said authorities had identified the person behind the Comilla incident. “I hope the prime suspect in the Comilla incident will be arrested soon. He has been changing locations frequently to avoid getting caught. We’ll be able to unfold the Comilla incident once he’s arrested,” the minister had said.
What happened in Bangladesh?
The attacks happened over the alleged incident of ‘sacrilege’ at a Puja Pandal. However, Police found that the man who triggered communal violence against Hindus by placing Quran at the Durga Puja venue was Iqbal Hossain, a Muslim.
The Hindu community had insisted vehemently that nobody among them had placed the Quran at the Puja Pandal and the incident has been a deliberate plan to attack the Hindu community.
For over five days, houses and temples of the Hindu community in Bangladesh have been under the attack of radical Islamists. It started on October 12 when multiple incidents of idol vandalism took place ahead of Puja. On Sunday, Islamic extremists vandalized the Durga idol of Sri Shamshaneshwar Shiva Vigraha Mandir in the Firingibazar area in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
On October 14, it was reported that several other Puja pandals were vandalized. Videos of broken idols, demolished pandals and Moorti of Maa Durga being thrown in a pond emerged on social media platforms along with other videos of attacks on Hindus.
On October 16, the ISKCON temple was attacked by a 400-500 strong Muslim mob. On October 17 and October 18, the attacks continued, and houses of Hindus were vandalized. Many were reported injured, and some reported dead after the attacks.