What began as violence through vandalism in Pandals and Mandapas during Durga Puja over orchestrated attacks through fake social media posts has now taken an even frightful turn after a member was found dead following an attack on the ISKCON temple in Bangladesh.

The deceased has been identified as 25-year-old Partha Das.

Temple members along with members of the Hindu community took to the streets to protest violent attacks against the community and temples in the country, in Noahkhali on Saturday.

In response to the previous brutal and violent attacks, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had assured minorities of safety and urged that they stop calling themselves minorities for they were born and raised in the same land.

Despite the Awami government and Sheikh Hasina coming out and issuing warnings to extremists, another attack was reported, this time on the ISKCON temple in Bangladesh’s Noahkhali area.

A mob of over 200 people attacked devotees and temple authorities at the ISKCON temple on the day of Dussehra causing significant damage to life and property. The incident happened after at least 7 other attacks reported from across Bangladesh throughout the 10 day festivities of Durga Puja.

An ISKCON member Partha Das was also killed and his body was found in a pond near the temple. Temple authorities have issued an official statement, requesting the Bangladesh government to take immediate action against the offenders.

“It is with great grief that we share the news of a ISKCON member, Partha Das, who was brutally killed yesterday by a mob of over 200 people. His body was found in a pond next to the temple. We call on the Govt of Bangladesh for immediate action in this regard,” wrote ISKCON in a tweet.

This incident in Noahkhali has happened despite warnings issued by the government of strict action against perpetrators of such crimes of communal nature.

The torch of communal hatred which was lit in Comilla has now spread across 22 districts of Bangladesh, as many Hindu Bangladeshis fear for their lives in their own country.

When asked to comment on the state of affairs with regards to the ongoing tensions in Bangladesh, Dr. Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Guwahati refused to give any information saying that he wasn’t authorised to do so.

“I cannot talk on this issue. You have to talk to the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in New Delhi, not my issue,” said the Assistant High Commissioner.

When EastMojo contacted Gordeb Das, Vice President of ISKCON Guwahati, he said, “I had not even heard about the incident. I got to know from you that such an incident has occurred. There was a similar incident that had occurred in Karimganj a while ago.”

He added that the president looks after the administration and that he must be contacted for any comment. Temple president Jibadas did not return any calls after repeated attempts.

Speaking on the issue, Vice President of ISKCON Kolkata Radharaman Das said, “We called the PM’s residence and requested his secretary to inform the PM that he should speak with Bangladesh PM to end this cycle of violence. Yesterday, around 500 strong mob entered our temple premises & broke deities, brutally injured devotees; 2 of them died.”

Calling the incident unfortunate, Radharaman Das also informed the media that they have written to the United Nations and appealed to them to send a delegation to Bangladesh.

Timeline of attacks on Puja Mandapas and temples in Bangladesh:

The Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council had earlier decided to observe October 13 as Black Day due to the gravity of the situation in Bangladesh following violent communal attacks on Hindu minorities.

The first incident of vandalism of Durga idols by extremist groups this year was reported by the organization on September 22 in Kushtia city of western Bangladesh, after which a second incident of violence was reported in Joypurhat. 

The third attack on Durga idols took place on October 11 in Kotwali, Chittagong and another incident of vandalism of idols was reported from Rastampur village of Ashulia, Dhaka, on the same day. 

A third attack was reported on October 11 at Tipu Sultan Road in Pura Dhaka and on October 12, a communal attack was reported in the puja mandap of Karunamayi Kalibari in the Chawkbazar area of Chittagong during Aarti.

One major attack in Comilla was the one that caught most media attention. Attackers had reportedly attacked devotees and idols in the Puja Mandapa of Nanua Dighi par. Several other Puja Mandapas in the vicinity were then vandalised by local extremists.

The Daily Star newspaper reported that at least three people were killed and many others injured on October 13 as a mob and the police clashed in Chandpur’s Hajiganj upazila following the incident at Comilla where at least 4 people were reportedly killed and over 20 devotees had been injured.

Also read: Durga Puja 2021: ‘Black Day’ for Bangladeshi Hindus

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