Asia

Bangladesh Hindu attacks' suspect arrested

Activists and members of different organizations protest in Dhaka on November 4, 2016, against the recent attacks on Hindu temples and houses in the eastern district of Brahmanbaria. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protests were held in Dhaka condemning anti-Hindu violence following the attacks of 30 October

Bangladesh police have arrested a man they say is a prime suspect in attacks targeting minority Hindus last month.

The suspect owns a cyber cafe in Brahmanbaria, the eastern area where most of the attacks occurred.

The National Human Rights Commission said the violence was an organised bid to drive Hindu people from their homes and grab their land.

The violence was sparked after a Hindu fisherman allegedly mocked a holy site in Mecca on Facebook.

Police now say the image was not uploaded from his mobile phone. They instead suspect it was uploaded from the cyber cafe in question, local media report.

While the attacks started in Brahmanbaria district, incidents have been reported from all around Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

Dozens of people were arrested earlier this month in connection with the worst attacks, which targeted numerous temples and more than 100 homes on 30 October.

More than 100 people were injured, reports said, and an arson attack destroyed the house of a local leader of the governing Awami League, who is a Hindu.

Correspondents say attacks on Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are not uncommon, but the scale of the recent violence is unusual.

More homes were attacked on 4 November in the same district.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hindu temples were vandalised after the Facebook post was uploaded

Rasraj Das, a fisherman, was arrested over the Facebook post that triggered the violence, and later released on bail. The image posted was of the Kaaba, one of the holiest sites in Islam, along with a Hindu deity.

Police now say that an investigation has determined the photo was not uploaded from Mr Das's phone and he has been cleared.

Instead, it is suspected that the image was uploaded to Rasraj Das' Facebook account from the cyber cafe in Nasirnagar, a sub-district of Brahmanbaria, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

Many secular writers and bloggers have been killed in Bangladesh in recent years, in attacks blamed on Islamist militants.

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