Following turmoil sparked by the alleged burning of the Muslim holy book during a Hindu religious event last week, police in Bangladesh have apprehended at least 300 individuals. Two Hindu men were slain, and temples were vandalized.
After a photo of the Quran being put on the knee of a Hindu idol during Durga Puja festival celebrations in the eastern region of Cumilla went viral on social media on Wednesday, violence erupted across Bangladesh.
In the days that followed, enraged mobs assaulted Hindu temples. They battled with police in various parts of Bangladesh, killing at least six people, including two Hindus, and injuring over 100 others.
An executive member of the temple committee was beaten and stabbed to death by more than 200 attackers in the southern town of Begumganj, where Hindus were ready to perform the last rituals of the 10-day Durga Puja holiday, according to police.
So far, six people have been slain in acts of violence.
Another Hindu man's body was discovered near a pond near the temple on Saturday morning, according to local police chief Shahidul Islam.
"Since yesterday's attack, two men have perished. "We're looking for the perpetrators," he added.
The Hindu community in Bangladesh makes up around 10% of the country's 165 million people.
At least four more people were murdered late Wednesday after police opened fire on a crowd of approximately 500 people storming a Hindu temple in Hajiganj, one of several towns affected by the unrest.
Thousands of Muslim demonstrators threw bricks at police in the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong, leading police to use tear gas and rubber bullets.
In an apparent attempt to prevent the violence from spreading, high-speed mobile phone internet services were cut off.
According to allegations in Bangladeshi media on Sunday, at least 20 Hindu homes in Rangpur's Pirganj neighborhood were set ablaze.
Tensions in the neighborhood rose after charges that a Hindu man's Facebook post disgraced Islam, according to a police official quoted by the bd news website.
The event occurred a day after 10,000 demonstrators flocked to the streets outside Dhaka's largest mosque, many of whom were holding flags of Islamist political organizations.
"Down with the enemies of Islam," the mob screamed, and "Hang the criminals."
"We demand that those who desecrated the Quran by placing it at the feet of an idol in Cumilla be arrested," said Mosaddek Billah al-Madani, president of Bangladesh's Islami Movement. Protesters requested "the death penalty" for those responsible for the photographs, he claimed.
Separately, some 1,000 Hindus demonstrated at a neighboring crossroads against Muslim mob attacks on temples and the killing of two Hindu worshippers in another district where multiple temples were vandalized.
According to community leader Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, at least 150 Hindus have been injured across the country, and at least 80 makeshift temples have been attacked.
Authorities said they had deployed extra security, including a paramilitary border guard, to control any more protests, but did not confirm the figures.
On Thursday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with Hindu leaders and threatened strong measures.
"Around 90 people have been arrested so far." Asaduzzaman Khan, the Home Minister, stated, "We will hunt down all the masterminds."
According to the Press Trust of India, the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council has organized a sit-in and hunger strike in Chittagong beginning October 23 in protest of attacks against Hindus.
According to a spokeswoman for the forum, protests will occur in Dhaka's Shahbagh and Chittagong's Andarkilla. The forum held a six-hour strike in Chittagong on Saturday before making the announcement.