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Bangladesh: CCTV footage shows how Islamists orchestrated attack on Hindus in Narail

As per an exclusive report by Ekatoor TV, a mob of young Muslim men targeted the houses and shops of Hindu families, living in the Sahapara area of Narail, on July 15 this year.

Days after Islamists ran riots under the pretext of blasphemy in the Narail district of Bangladesh, a newly released CCTV footage showed the systematic manner in which they orchestrated the attack on the Hindu community.

As per an exclusive report by Ekatoor TV, a mob of young Muslim men targeted the houses and shops of Hindu families, living in the Sahapara area of Narail, on July 15 this year.

The mob was led from the front by local religious and political leaders, who denied any complicity in the crime despite their faces being caught on the CCTV. According to locals, the attackers were not ‘unknown’ and were members of adjoining villages.

Half an hour before the attack, the Islamists were seen coming out of the local masjid and heading in the direction of Sahapara. Ekatoor TV reported that some of the attackers were passing information via phone to their handlers about the on-ground situation.

At around 6:13 pm on July 15, two elderly men were spotted in the CCTV footage directing the violent mob. The duo are leaders of the radical party, Islami Andolan Bangladesh (Islamic Movement of Bangladesh). While one is a leader in Patikbari, the other is a member of the party’s Nayagram unit.

8 minutes later, a local tea seller by the name of Manirul Zaman was seen attacking Hindu-owned shops along with other Muslim youth. Despite being caught red-handed in the act, Manirul refused involvement in the attack.

He claimed to have gone there at the request of 2 young boys from the masjid. “I went there after the violence was over,” he said in his defence. Meanwhile, the orgy of violence continued against the minority Hindu community.

At around 6:26 pm, Awami League leader Sheikh Masuduzzaman Masud was spotted among the attackers. He was also seen chatting with some of the Islamists, present at the site.

He claimed to have gone to Sahapara to pacify the frenzied mob and not participate in the targeted attacks. At around 7: 10 pm, a team of local leaders and police were seen marching towards Sahapara.

19 minutes later, the house of a Hindu man named Gobindo Saha was set on fire. There was a blackout in the area at that time, which helped the attackers to escape. At about 7:28 pm, some Muslim men who engineered the attack were seen rushing out of Sahapara and moving towards the local bazar.

Some of them returned again to continue the vandalism and arson attacks. Another team of police reached the spot to extinguish the fire. It remains unknown as to how the Islamists unleashed mayhem, despite the deployment of a sizeable police force in the area.

It was only around 9 pm on that fateful day that the fire brigade reached the spot to extinguish the fire that engulfed the shelter and livelihood of the Hindus of Sahapara.

Exodus and starting life afresh: The aftermath of the Narail attack in Bangladesh

The Islamists claimed that an 18-year-old Hindu college student named Akash Saha had hurt their religious sentiments through a Facebook post. Under the pretext of blasphemy, the vicious mob set out to destroy the livelihood of the 108 Hindu families.

According to an ex-member of Dighalia Union Parishad, Beauty Rani, a large number of Hindus have left the Sahapara village after the onslaught by Islamists.

”Almost all houses are locked. Only the elders of some families are home. They too are scared,” she informed. Rani lamented, “When we were being attacked, the police were there. They were watching from a distance and no one came to our rescue. The police can no longer be trusted and that is why people are leaving the village.”

One of the victims of the dastardly attack was 62-year-old Deepali Rani, whose house was burnt down in front of her eyes. “After one group looted all our valuables, another group came and found our door open. As there was nothing left to loot, they set our home on fire,” she told The Daily Star.

Deepali Rani is not related to Akash Saha in a way. Despite this, her shelter was not spared by the Islamist mob. “Only because the student is Hindu and I too am Hindu, my house was burnt down,” she emphasised.

The 62-year-old stated, “I don’t know how long this threat of violence will haunt us. Who will give us justice? Who will give us security? … If I were in the house while they set it on fire, I would have died. God saved me. But is this any way to survive? All I have now is the sari on my body.”

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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