The High Court yesterday directed the government to protect until further orders the minority communities and places of worships attacked allegedly by activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP in Noakhali on Thursday.
In a suo moto rule, the authorities concerned were also asked to repair the houses and places of worships and to bring those back to their previous condition. A report on the compliance of the directives has to be submitted in the court in 10 days, the HC said.
The court passed the rule on the government following a report published in The Daily Star on March 2 with the headline "Attacks on Noakhali Hindus: Victims feel insecure."
The HC directives came in tandem with fresh attacks on minority establishments reported from Munshiganj, Dinajpur and Barisal yesterday.
Soon after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 passed a verdict against Jamaat-e-Islami Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee for war crimes on Thursday, leaders and activists of Jamaat, its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir and local BNP men launched attacks on the Hindus in Noakhali, according to the March 2 report.
The opposition party men torched, vandalised and looted at least one temple and many houses at Begumganj of the district, sending the minorities into a panic, the report says. Jamaat-Shibir men also damaged six temples, torched 36 houses and vandalised 40 other houses after looting those at Alampur and Aladin Nagar villages in Rajganj.
Witnesses said Shibir activists Saddam and Alauddin and BNP activists Khalil and Ibrahim led the attacks.
An HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Mahmudul Hoque yesterday issued another rule upon the government to explain in 10 days why it should not be directed to arrest and prosecute the criminals.
Home secretary, inspector general of police, deputy commissioner (DC) and superintendent of police (SP) of Noakhali, and officer-in-charge (OC) of Begumganj have been made respondents to the rule.
Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder told The Daily Star that he had already informed the DC of Noakhali of the HC order and asked him to take steps.
ATTACKS IN MUNSHIGANJ, BARISAL, DINAJPUR
In the latest development, a temple was set on fire at Louhajang upazila in Munshiganj around 10:00pm yesterday.
Seeing the fire, people in the neighbourhood rushed to the place and doused it. But by that time many idols of Goalimandra Monipara Kali Mandir were damaged, said Anil Chandra Das, president of the temple's committee.
Local people said they suspected that hartal supporters were behind the incident.
In Barisal, unidentified miscreants tried to torch a Hindu temple at Aliganj Bazaar of Hizla upazila, but were resisted. In another incident, police arrested three people in connection with damaging and torching of idols of Hindu goddesses at Sarbojoneen Durga Mandir in Gournadi upazila of the district.
OC of Gournadi Police Station Abul Kalam Azad said police had raided different areas in the early hours yesterday and arrested Mizan Khalifa, 20, first year student of Dhaka Titumir College, Baharuddin Ahmed 31, a businessman of Dhaka and Aminul Islam, 18, student of Gournadi Kasemabad Madrasa.
"We have sent the arrestees to the court in the afternoon with a seven-day remand prayer for interrogation," the police officer said.
In Dinajpur, harvests of rice belonged to nine Hindu families were burnt to ashes and at least 50 trees were felled on the Dinajpur-Panchagarh highway at Birganj upazila allegedly by Jamaat-Shibir men.
Fire brigades rushed to the spot and doused the fire, Abdul Kader Zilani, officer-in-charge of Dinajpur Sadar Upazila, confirmed.
Meanwhile, a monitoring cell has been formed at the Dhakeshwari National temple to collect information about attacks on minorities across the country and to take immediate action. People are requested to contact at phone numbers -- 02-9611353, 02-8616248 and 01711308148.