B'desh: Prime accused in Pirganj attack confesses to his role

By Sumi Khan

Dhaka, Oct 25 (IANS): The prime accused behind the arson attack on Hindu houses at Boro Karimpur village in Bangladesh's Pirganj, and his associate have confessed to their role in the violence.

In his statement, Saikat Mandal, 24, who has been arrested, confessed in the court on Sunday that he was involved in the attack and made post on social media to incite violence.

Rangpur Senior Judicial Magistrate Delwar Hossain recorded the statement on Sunday.

Mandal -- an expelled local Bangladesh Chhatra League leader, and his associate and Imam of a mosque Md. Robiul Islam, 36, were named as key accused in the case.

As many as 70 families were affected by the attack.

The police said the attack in Pirganj of Rangpur took place due to a rumour that a Hindu man had posted religiously offensive content on Facebook.

Most of the victims were still traumatized and in constant fear of another attack.

According to the local Union Parishad chairman, as many as 65 Hindu homes were torched during the attack.

"The attackers belonged to the local units of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir," Union Parishad Chairman Md. Sadequl Islam told IANS on Sunday.

Ashraful Alam, director of the National Human Rights Commission's investigation team, recently visited the location from Dhaka. He had told reporters that he is concerned about the victims.

"Almost all of the families, who lost everything in the violence, are living in extreme fear. The security gap that has been created is not going away. They said they were worried that they would not be able to do business in the future in this area," Alam said.

"The militants not only burnt our houses but also looted all the goods, including furniture, cows, goats and cash," a woman told IANS.

Biroda Rani Roy, Upazila Nirbahi officer (UNO) of the area, urged the people to remain calm and assured them that there would be no problems as the local administration would support them.

She said: "A total 32 houses of 25 families in Majhipara were set on fire in the attack. A further 59 houses were vandalized after looting. About 70 affected families have been listed."

The local UNO also said they distributed dried food and clothing to affected families immediately with the help of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.

The victims got some cash aid to rebuild their houses from the Speaker of parliament of Bangladesh Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, Bidyananda foundation, Awami League, Shechchhasebak League, Jubo League, Chhatra League and social organisations.



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