Ahmadiyya sect attacked by Sunni bigots in Panchagarh
Saleem Samad of DOT
At least 50 people, including 20 policemen, were injured in an attack and properties of Ahmadiyya Muslims sect were burnt when local Sunni bigots went on a rampage at Ahmadnagar of Panchagarh on Tuesday night.
The attack was deliberately carried out to disrupt the national convention of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Bangladesh scheduled from February 22 at Ahmadnagar.
The bigots under the banner of Khatm-e-Nabuwat Sangrakkhan Parishad were carrying out smear campaign across the district and organized people from various places of the country.
Similar campaigns were carried out by some other groups supported by Hefazat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmad Shafi Zunaid Babunagari — Iman Akida Rakkha Committee, Islami Juba Samaj and Tauhidi Janata, said the Ahmadiyyas.
The bigots have been demanding on the government to declare the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims, like in Pakistan.
On Tuesday night, they brought out a procession and marched towards the village of Ahmadiyya people.
Police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring back order while the attackers demanded cancellation of the convocation.
Ignoring police efforts to maintain law and order in the town, radicalized Sunni group crossed the river Karatoa and attacked the houses and shops of Ahmadiyyas, said Panchagarh police officer-in-charge Abu Akkas Ahmed.
Ahmad Tabshir Chowdhury, a spokesperson of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Bangladesh at a press conference in Panchagarh on Wednesday said the women of the community were dragged outside of their homes and physically harassed.
He said around 40 people were injured in the attack and two critically injured were admitted to Rangpur Medical College Hospital.
Tabshir lamented that the violence could have been averted had the civil administration took prompt response to quell the riot.
Panchagarh deputy commissioner Sabina Yasmin visited the injured people at hospital and promised that the perpetrators will be punished following investigation.
Police have filed three cases against unknown people — one under Special Powers Act, one for obstructing police and one for creating anarchy, said Panchagarh police officer-in-charge Abu Akkas.
Meanwhile, a five-member probe committee has been formed to look into Tuesday’s attack Ahmadiyya Muslims at Ahmadnagar. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three days.
Besides, police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops have been deployed in the restive area to fend off further trouble.
Panchagarh deputy commissioner Sabina Yasmin said the permission for the three-day Jalsa Salana has been cancelled. She also said necessary steps will be taken after investigation.