Desk report, Oct 22: A series of steps and actions have been taken by both the government and the ruling Awami League to rehabilitate the victims, ensure security and boost the confidence of the Hindu community following the recent violence.
So far, a total of 102 cases have been filed accusing 20,619 people in connection with the violence over the Hindu community. Of them, 583 were arrested as yet and drives are underway to arrest the remaining offenders, according to the official statistics.
Cash assistance, foods, cloths, other essential commodities and house construction materials have been provided to the affected families of the community by the government and the party.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday declared that houses would be made for those affected in the violence. “Appropriate steps have already been taken in this regard,” she said at a programme at her official residence Ganabbhaban.
The government has declared zero tolerance against the perpetrators responsible for hindering communal harmony in Bangladesh, according to a spokesperson of the ministry of home affairs.
In a bid to boost confidence and ensure safety of the members of Hindu community, strong vigilances of law enforcement agencies have been beefed up across the country, and the ruling party men are aiding them with their all out efforts.
Home ministry officials said a total of 117 platoons of para-military Border Guard Bangladesh have been deployed in 37 districts and three metropolitan cities while police, Rapid Action Battalion and plain-cloth law enforcers are patrolling round the clock.
On the other hand, Awami League has directed its countrywide units to remain vigilant and assist the law enforcers to thwart any communal disruption, said Biplab Barua, office secretary of the ruling party. It already held countrywide communal harmony rallies on Tuesday protesting the heinous violence.
Several ministers, senior Awami League leaders, Members of Parliament, high government and law enforcing officials visited the affected and vulnerable areas in the past few days following the directives of the Prime Minister.
Apart from the ministries concerned, the prime minister’s office is also monitoring the situation at the directives of the Prime Minister, said Ihsanul Karim, Press Secretary to the premier. “Bangladesh is a land of communal harmony and none will be allowed to thwart it,” he added.
Social media and online media are being monitored constantly, and over two dozens people including an assistant professor of Begum Badrunnessa Government Girls College were arrested for their involvement in spreading rumors using false information, according to the police headquarters.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development issued directives to all public representatives including Union Parishads, Upazilas, municipalities, Zilla parishads and city corporations to remain vigilant and play their due role to maintain peace and harmony in their respective localities. To this end, the ministry would hold a virtual meeting on Sunday.
LGRD Minister Tajul Islam also visited Cumilla from where the incident ignited following alleged defamation of the Holy Quran.
Meanwhile, police last night detained a man suspecting him to be Iqbal Hossain, who reportedly placed the Holy Quran in a Cumilla puja mandap that triggered violence against the Hindu community in other places in the country.
Ministry of Religious Affairs held meetings with leaders and preachers of major religions in the past several days and directed them to raise massive awareness, motivate people and disseminate the essence of communal harmony for maintaining peace, said acting secretary of the religious affairs ministry Md A Awal Howlader.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Faridul Huq Khan visited the victims and distributed cash TK 10,000 each of 61 families alongside provided baby foods and cattle feed at Pirganj in Rangpur, where a mob carried arson attack on the villages of Hindu people following an alleged offensive status on facebook by a youth of the community.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief allocated 100 bundles of corrugated iron sheets, TK 445,000 for house construction and distributed 1200 packets of foodstuffs as humanitarian assistance for the victim Hindu families, said secretary of the ministry Md Mohsin.
Rangpur district administration on Sunday night distributed Taka nine lakh cash and 100 bundles of corrugated iron sheets among 65 affected families.
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) has set up a number of tents to give shelter to the homeless people so that they are not forced to spend night under open sky.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud also visited the victim families and distributed TK 5,000 and 20 kgs of rice among each Hindu family, who became victims of violence and arson attack, in the village of Pirganj.
On behalf of the Awami League, cash, food and clothes have also been given to the victim families, said Biplab Barua, also a special assistant to the Prime Minister. He said a central Awami League team will visit across the country shortly led by party general secretary Obaidul Quader.
Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, former Minister and lawmaker Hasanul Haque Inu and Whip Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapon, among other lawmakers, visited the victims in Rangpur.