Bangladesh authorities have arrested 235 people so far since community violence in three southeastern Bangladesh districts began on Saturday, causing damage to 16 Buddhist temples and dozens of homes. The publication of a photo showing the desecration of the Qu’ran holy book on a social network was cited as a factor in the attacks.
|Bangladesh Army soldiers erect tents at the torched Lal Ching Buddhist temple at Ramu, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) from the capital Dhaka on Monday, October 1, 2012. Photo: AFP|
Muslim mobs first went on a rampage in Merunloa, a Buddhist-majority village, following the alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book by a Buddhist man in the village, depicted on the social network Facebook, authorities said on Monday.
The communal unrest follows a wave of similar violence in Burma between Muslims and Rakhine State natives. Muslim Rohingyas in Burma are denied citizenship. The unrest there lead to up to 90 deaths and some 60,000 displaced persons after thousands of homes were burned.
Bangladesh authorities said the communal unrest was the worst religious violence in the country since its independence in 1971. Buddhist make up around 1 per cent of the country’s 153 million population.
Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, who visited the areas on Sunday, blamed radical Islamists for the attacks but did not name any group or parties.