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Nasirnagar area in Brahmanbaria district

Radical extremist attacks are driving away Hindus

The Hindus of Nasirnagar area in Brahmanbaria district who had chosen not to flee despite massacres committed against them during the 1971 Liberation War are now thinking of it as the last option to save their life.

At least six Hindu families have already left the country after Sunday’s attacks that destroyed over a dozen temples and Puja pavilions, and more than 100 houses. Around 100 people including women were injured in the attacks.

Some 3,000 Muslims took part in the series of violent attacks that were carried out in the Hindu localities of Nasirnagar following a rally over an alleged defamatory post by an illiterate Hindu youth, Rasraj Das, on Facebook even though he had apologised to the Muslims the day before saying that his account had been hacked.

On Saturday, Rasraj – an Awami League supporter – was caught, beaten up and handed over to the police by the radicals, who also vandalised and looted his house, and destroyed two Puja pavilions at his Haripur village.

The rally was organised allegedly by the local leaders of radical Islamist groups Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and Hefazat-e-Islam through announcements from local mosques the previous day – a trend seen many times in the recent years to attack temples and houses of the Hindus and the Buddhists across the country.

It is alleged that some local Awami League leaders assisted the mob in carrying out the attack. Two of them were identified as Sheikh Abdul Ahad, former chairman of Nasirnagar Upazila, and his son Oli Mia.