The ‘Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’ denies involvement in Attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, plans anti-militancy rally in Dhaka

By Times Headline Writer

15 temples were ransacked and more than a hundred Hindu houses looted and vandalised in Nasirnagar Upazila on Sunday over an alleged Facebook post insulting Islam.

Hundreds of people ransacked temples and looted and vandalised more than a hundred houses of the religious minority group in Nasirnagar Upazila on Sunday over the purported Facebook post by a 30-year-old Hindu fisherman.

The ‘Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’, the Islamic organisation whose Brahmanbarhia chapter organised a rally protesting an alleged social media post insulting Islam, has denied being involved in the hate attacks on the Hindus.

The Ahle Sunnat says the attacks were aimed to disrupt the communal harmony.

In a media briefing on Thursday, its coordinating body’s Member Secretary Mosaheb Uddin Bakhtiar claimed they had held a ‘peaceful rally’ and no-one from that rally took part in the attacks.

“Local Awami League leaders, additional superintendent of police, Upazila executive officer, Upazila chairman attended the rally. The administration even thanked Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat for holding a peaceful rally,” he told the press conference in Chittagong, known to be a strong-hold of the outfit.

Bakhtiar claimed another rally was held under the banner ‘Khanti (original) Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’ in the area on that day, whose organisers are loyal to Qawmi madrasa-based group Hifazat-e Islam. This outfit had unleashed large-scale violence from its 2013 rally in Dhaka’s Motijheel.

“A peaceful rally was being held while a group of people attacked Hindus,” Bakhtiar added.

He blamed the administration’s negligence for the attack. “In spite of the tension, the administration did not take security measures. They attended the rally. Why were they not there (where the attacks took place)? ”

Demanding a judicial probe into the attacks, he said, “Those who attended the rally were unarmed, while the attackers were equipped with sharp weapons and firearms.”

Bakhtiar said there was no instance of extremist violence perpetrated by Ahle Sunnat.

“We observed a peaceful shutdown on Apr 20 this year. No-one can say Ahle Sunnat unleashed violence.”

Thursday’s news conference in Chittagong was meant to brief the media on Ahle Sunnat’s planned anti-militancy rally in Dhaka slated for Nov 12. (With inputs from Bangladeshi newspapers)

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