14 images of 12 temples vandalised in Baliadangi, HRC concern

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Hill Voice, 7 February 2023, Thakurgaon: In Baliadangi Upazila of Thakurgaon, 14 images were vandalized in 12 temples in one night. A total of 14 idols of eight temples of Dhantala Union, three temples of Paria Union and one temple of Charol Union of the upazila were vandalized late night on Saturday (February 4). On Sunday (February 5) morning, local people noticed the incident of vandalizing the idols of the temple. The miscreants also tore down the Gita, one of the Holy Books of the Sanatani community as well as vandalizing the idols of the temple.

Receiving the news, Prabir Kumar Gupta, General Secretary of Thakurgaon district of Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad went to the spot.

Prabir Kumar Gupta said that miscreants vandalized a total of 14 idols at late night last Saturday (February 4). Among them eight were in Sindurpindi area of Dhantala union, three in Collegepara area of Paria union and one temple in Sahbajpur Nathpara area of Charol union. Most of the idols were from roadside temples. The idols of Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Manasa were kept in those temples and various parts of those including head, hand, legs were broken. In the morning, local people found the idols broken and informed the administration and police. He claimed that such incidents were committed to destroy the communal harmony of the country.

General Secretary of Dhantala Union Puja Celebration Committee and President of Sindurpindi Temple Committee, Jotimoy Singha said, “We have been performing puja at this temple for almost half a century. Never had an unpleasant incident. Miscreants committed vandalism sometime on Saturday night. Due to this incident, the people of the Hindu community in this area are in fear. I demand a fair investigation into the incident and speedy prosecution of those involved.

On Sunday (February 5), around 1 pm, on receiving the news, Deputy Commissioner Mahbubur Rahman and Thakurgaon Superintendent of Police Mohammad Jahangir Hossain and local public representatives visited the spot.

Superintendent of Police Mohammad Jahangir Hossain said the culprits have not been identified yet. Police are working on it. The incident is being investigated keeping in mind who is destroying the communal harmony by causing such incidents and whether they have committed this to tarnish the image of the country. Hopefully, the culprits will be identified and brought under the law soon.

District Commissioner Md. Mahbubur Rahman said those who are carrying out activities to disturb the peace and harmony of the locality, will soon be brought under the law and exemplary punishment.

The National Human Rights Commission has expressed deep concern over the incidents of vandalism in 12 temples in one night. The commission has urged the government to bring the culprits under the law immediately and give exemplary punishment to those involved in the incident under the law.

According to a notice of the commission on Monday (February 6), miscreants vandalized 14 images in eight temples at Dhantala union in Baliadangi upazila, three temples of Paria union and one temple of Charol union in one night, which has come to the notice of the Human Rights Commission.

In this context, the commission chairman Kamaluddin Ahmed said, Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. The right to freely practice one’s religion is a fundamental human right recognized by the Constitution. Some conspiratorial sections seem to be perpetrating communal attacks to tarnish the country’s image, which is highly condemnable. If those involved in these incidents are not brought under the law and given appropriate punishment, the incident will repeat itself.

Meanwhile, 15 national cultural federations, including the Sammilito Sanskritik Jot, have demanded the immediate arrest of those involved in vandalizing the idols. This demand was announced in a joint statement on Monday. The statement said the destruction of 12 idols in one night in Baliadangi is well-planned and perpetrated by anti-national interest section to destroy harmony. We strongly demand to suppress the heinous activities of this criminal gang with a strong hand.

The reporting federations are – Sammilito Sanskritik Jot, Group Theatre Federation, Jatio Kabita Parisad, Abriti Samonnoy Parishad, Patha Natok Parisad, Nritho Shilpi Sangstha, Ganasangeet Samannoy Parisad, Charu Shilpi Sangsad, Sangeet Sangathan Samannoy Parishad, Jatra Shilpa Unayan Parishad, ITI Bangladesh Kendra, Avinoy Shilpi Sangha, Gram Theatre, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jot and Sishu Sangathan  Oikyo Jot.