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Faridpur temple fire: Villagers demanding arrest of accused

Messenger Online

Published: 20:41, 23 April 2024

Faridpur temple fire: Villagers demanding arrest of accused

Photo: Collected 

Thousands of villagers on Tuesday (23 April) clashed with law enforcers as the public demanded the arrests of the accused involved in the brutal deaths of two construction workers in a mob beating following a fire at a temple in Madhukhali upazila of Faridpur last Thursday night.

Some members of the law enforcing agencies and villagers were injured in the clash that lasted for hours but the exact number of the injured could not be ascertained.

One of the injured was sent to Bangabandhu Sheik Mujib Medical College Hospital in the district due to critical condition, confirmed Madhukhali police station’s Officer-in-Charge Miraj Hossain.

Witnesses said thousands of villagers formed a human demanding arrest of the accused on Dhaka-Khulna highway in Madhukhali Sadar in the morning and later brought out a protest procession which started heading towards Dumain Panchapalli where the lynching occurred last Thursday.

Being barred from the law enforcers, the villagers became angry over the matter and started hurling brickbats targeting the enforcers, resulting in a chase and counter-chase for hours.

Due to the clash, hundreds of vehicles got stuck on both sides of the road, causing immense suffering amid the scorching heat.

Deputy Commissioner Md Qamrul Ahsan Talukder said he tried to assuage the agitated villagers but they didn’t pay heed to it.

“On behalf of the administration, we will consider the demand for which you are agitating with utmost importance. But the protesters did not respond to the administration's call and continued their programme,” he said.

Additional superintendent of police Md Imdad Hossain said following the Panchapalli incident, protesters tried to block the road from Madhukhali Sadar to Kamarkhali, while police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas and blank bullets at some places.

“We completely cleared the road by 3 pm. Vehicular movement is now normal,” the police officer said.

On Thursday afternoon, a fire broke out at Kali idols of the Barwari temple in Hindu-dominated Panchpalli village.

Hindu residents became angry over the incident and they locked seven workers on suspicion of their involvement in the desecration of the idols.

The workers were constructing a wash block at Panchapalli Government Primary School, 20 yards off the temple.

On information, Madhukhali police and upazila administration officials rushed to the spot but the mob also confined them. Later with the help of Faridpur District Sadar and Rajbari District Police, the besieged people were rescued after a few hours.

Seven workers were rescued with injuries and taken to Madhukhali Upazila Health Complex and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical College Hospital in Faridpur. Two of the injured succumbed to their injuries while undergoing treatment.

The deceased were identified as Ashraful, 21, and his younger brother Ashadul, 15, sons of Shahjahan Khan of Ghoperghat village under Naowarpara union of the upazila. They were both construction workers

Later, three platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members led by a magistrate were deployed along with police to ease the tensions in the Dumain area.

On Saturday, visiting the home of the victims, Religious Affairs Minister Md Faridul Haque Khan warned that exemplary punishments will be taken against those who were involved with their deaths.