Anti-Hindu Violence In Bangladesh Leaves One Dead With PM-India
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Police imposed curfews in Bangladesh’s two largest cities today after one person was killed and more than 100 injured in riots triggered by a Hindu- Moslem dispute in neighboring India.
Trouble also was reported in six other cities in this Islamic nation, in response to reports that Hindu fundamentalists in India tried to replace a mosque with a Hindu temple. More than 175 people have died in violence in India.
The curfews started Wednesday in parts of Dhaka and the entire port city of Chittagong after Moslem gangs attacked temples of Bangladesh’s Hindu minority. Hindu idols were smashed, and hundreds of Hindu homes were set afire.
The Dhaka curfew was extended today to the entire city of 7 million people.
The police announcement of the curfew, broadcast by Radio Bangladesh, did not say why the curfew was broadened. But witnesses said Moslem gangs renewed their rampage by breaking into a Hindu temple in downtown Dhaka where a curfew already had been imposed.
Riot police chased the crowd of about 500 people with steel-tipped batons.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
A senior Home Ministry official said the curfew extension in Dhaka was a precautionary measure. ″The situation is under control, and we want to remain on the safe side,″ he said, speaking on condition of anonimity.
The independent Ittefaq newspaper said a Moslem businessman who was shot during the anti-Hindu rampage in Dhaka died in a hospital late Wednesday night. There was no immediate indication who shot him.
The newspaper said about 100 people were injured in Dhaka, most of them from stabbings. Twenty-six were hospitalized.
Ittefaq also reported anti-Hindu trouble in Jessore, Narail, Gaibandha, Mymensingh, Sunamganj and Sylhet in northern and western Bangladesh.
It gave no details except that gangs attempted to break into temples. Bangladeshi newspapers tend to be cautious in reporting sensitive issues such as religious strife.
In Chittagong, the trouble erupted Tuesday evening, several hours after Hindu fundamentalists in India stormed into a 16th century mosque they want to replace with a temple in the Hindu holy town of Ayodhya.
At least 11 Chittagong temples were vandalized. About 30 percent of the 2 million people in Chittagong, the nation’s second-largest city after Dhaka, are Hindus.
Police said they arrested 10 people in Chittagong, but witnesses said they saw at least 35 people being led away by police.
The curfew in Chittagong was relaxed for two hours today so people could leave their homes to shop for food, but there was no break in the curfew in Dhaka, a city of 7 million.
President Hussain Muhammad Ershad appealed for peace in speeches Wednesday and said his government would protect the minority communities.
Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, is an Islamic state whose 110 million people are 88 percent Moslem. About 10 percent are Hindus.
India, which borders Bangladesh on three sides, is predominantly Hindu but officially secular. Hindus comprise 82 percent of India’s 880 million people, and Moslems make up 12 percent.