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Friday, September 11, 2009

Awami League Cadres Vandalized Hindu Templet in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Report: The Daily Star News

Staff Correspondent

Local hoodlums allegedly vandalised idols of a temple located on a piece of disputed vested property in RM Das Lane behind Sutrapur Police Station yesterday.

They also fired several rounds of gunshots around 12:30pm to occupy the 32-katha piece of land evicting a few Hindu families who have been living there for over 100 years, locals said. They alleged that the criminals were local Awami League cadres.

Later, police deployed forces in the area to take control of the land.

However, talking to The Daily Star last night, Sutrapur police said no idol was vandalised but they admitted the incident of gunshots.

"Members of the Hindu families staged a drama vandalising the idols themselves," said BM Farman Ali, operation officer of Sutrapur Police Station. "There has been no temple there," he added.

A meeting was held at the police station last night with both parties to resolve the dispute.

Officer-in-Charge Tofazzal Hossain told The Daily Star that the meeting decided that the Hindu families can organise Durga Puja outside the boundary wall around the land. The actual ownership will be resolved after the puja.

During a visit to the spot, this correspondent saw pieces of broken idols of Kalighat Shib Mandir.

Dhaka City Puja Udjapon Committee General Secretary Tapas Kumar Paul told The Daily Star that a few people, who claimed ownership of the vested properties, destroyed the old idols.

Locals said several AL leaders, including Asad Mahmud, a close relative of AL's Ward-80 unit president Nizam Uddin, occupied more than half of the land on March 30 by obtaining a court order, evicting at least 15 families from there.

OC Tofazzal said Asad has documents of purchase of the property from a person named Amir Ali.

Locals said the AL cadres yesterday fired gunshots and vandalised the idols as the Hindu families were preparing for the coming Durga Puja.

Chanchal Roy, general secretary of the temple committee, said, "We have been residing here as successors of our earlier generations although we have no papers and documents.

"A few local leaders prepared fake documents of their ownership of the land and somehow obtained a court order in their favour," he said, adding, "We have neither money nor power to fight against the fake ownership."