Dhaka: At least 15 Hindu temples were vandalised in central Bangladesh as a Facebook post deemed offensive to Islam sparked massive outrage in the Muslim-majority nation on Sunday.
Hundreds of Hindu community houses were vandalised and looted by an unruly mob in Bangladesh's Brahmanbaria district.
Police on Monday filed two cases against more than 1,000 people over Sunday`s attack, the day neighbouring country India was celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people armed with locally-made weapons attacked the Hindu community at Brahmanbaria's Nasirnagar upazila, reportedly in response to a Facebook post satirising the Masjid al-Haram, the holy site of Muslims.
Later, two temples in adjacent Habiganj's Madhabpur were also attacked.
The attackers ran amok through eight Hindu localities, including Kashipara, Daspara, Ghoshpara, Duttapara and Nomoshudropara, said Abdul Quader, officer-in-charge of Nasirnagar Police Station.
Brahmanbaria Superintendent of Police (SP) Mizanur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that around 150 to 200 people launched the attacks and vandalised at least seven to eight idols of temples in the area.
Among the temples vandalised were Duttobari temple, Nomosomudropara temple, Jagannath temple, Ghoshpara temple and Gouro temple.
Police said there were no major casualties but several priests of the temples suffered minor injuries. They added that nine arrests have been made in the case.
"We have arrested nine persons so far finding their direct links to the attacks as the authorities of these temples filed two cases," Brahmanbaria police superintendent Mizanur Rahman told PTI over phone.
A large number of security personnel from different agencies including police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been deployed in the area.
Locals said the incident started with a Facebook post by one Rasraj Das, son of Jagannath Das from Harinberh village under Haripur Union Parishad, bdnews reported.
Police detained Rasraj on Friday immediately after the allegation of blasphemy surfaced against him and he was sent to jail following a court order.
Protests against Rasraj's post were held under the banner of 'Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat' in Habiganj district headquarters and in Nasirnagar. Demonstrations were also announced in Habiganj's Madhabpur, bdnews24 reported.
A group of madrassa students also demonstrated on the premises of Brahmanbaria Press Club while hundreds of people blocked Sarail-Nasirnagar-Lakhai road by torching tyres on Sunday afternoon.
Madhabpur Upazila Puja Udjapon Committee chief Sunil Das said members of the religious minority community were pained by the attack, which occurred a day after Kali Puja.
SP Mizanur blamed the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir for the attack.
Local citizens on Monday organised a rally to promote communal harmony.
(With Agency inputs)