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Bangladesh: Iqbal Hossain sentenced to 16 months in jail for placing Quran in Puja Mandap, inciting anti-Hindu violence, released for having served his term already

Mohammed Iqbal Hossain was arrested from Cox Bazar on October 21, 2021 and booked under the stringent Digital Security Act.

On Thursday (March 2), a Dhaka court sentenced one Mohammad Iqbal Hossain to 16 months imprisonment for orchestrating the anti-Hindu violence during the 2021 Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh by placing a copy of the Quran at the feet of Lord Hanuman.

As per a report by The Daily Star, the matter was heard by the Dhaka Cyber Tribunal Judge AM Zulfiker Hayet. He passed the verdict in the presence of the accused.

Given that Mohammed Iqbal Hossain had already served 16 months behind bars, the Judge directed the jail authorities to release him for having served his sentence in advance (in case he is not wanted in any other case).

The Background of the Case

On October 13, 2021, a 35-year-old man named Iqbal Hossain placed a copy of the Quran on the feet of the idol of Lord Hanuman at the Nanuar Dighir Par Durga Mandir in the Cumilla district of Bangladesh.

His actions triggered a series of violent attacks against the minority Hindus in the country. The Hindu community had insisted vehemently that nobody among them had kept the Islamic ‘Holy book’ at the Puja Pandal and the incident was a deliberate plan to foment trouble.

For over five days, houses and temples of the Hindu community in Bangladesh remained under attack. 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.

It came to light later that the copy of the Quran was given to Iqbal Hossain by the caretakers of a nearby mosque. The accused was arrested from Cox Bazar on October 21, 2021, by the Tongi Purba Police Station in Ghazipur and booked under the stringent Digital Security Act.

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. 

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