A new advancement has occurred in the anti-Hindu pogrom that shook the Narail district of Bangladesh last month. CCTV footage of the violence has been accessed by news platforms that prove that the Islamists had run riots attacking the Hindu community in a planned and well-orchestrated manner.
Initially, it was alleged that the riots had occurred under the pretext of blasphemy, a tried and tested excuse by Bangladeshi Islamists to launch deliberate attacks on the Hindus. The CCTV footage exposes the Narail riots as a planned and systematically executed war on the minority community.
An exclusive report by Ekattor TV confirms that a mob of Islamist youth targeted the shops and houses of the Hindus in Narail’s Sahapara area on July 15. Religious and political leaders led this mob in the area. Despite their faces being visible in the CCTV footage, they denied involvement in the riots. Again, local Hindus claim that the attackers were not ‘strangers’; they were from adjoining villages.
Half an hour before the attack, the radical mob was seen rushing out of the local masjid and headed towards Sahapara. As per Ekattor TV, these attackers were seen updating their handlers about the on-ground situation through the phone. Two older men were spotted directing the violent mob at around 6:13 in the evening.
These two were leaders of the radical outfit, Islami Andolan Bangladesh. Around 8 minutes later, tea seller Manirul Zaman and other Muslim men started attacking Hindu-owned shops. Manirul denied his involvement in the violence despite being caught on CCTV. “I went there after the violence was over,” said the Muslim tea seller in his defense.
Further, at around 6:26 pm, Sheikh Masuduzzaman Masud, leader of the Awami League, was spotted with the rioters, chanting Islamist slogans. But he claims he had visited the spot to pacify the frenzied mob. At 7: 10 pm, police and a group of local leaders marched towards Sahapara. But just minutes later, the house of a Hindu resident named Gobindo Saha was set ablaze.
The area was under a blackout during that time, aiding the attackers in fleeing. By 7:28, some Muslim men, who had allegedly masterminded the attacks, were seen rushing out of Sahapara and towards the local market. Few of them returned to the spot again and continued to riot. Though a sizable team of police was deployed in the area, Islamists were successful in unleashing the mayhem and continued with the arson attacks on the Hindus.
By 9 pm, fire brigade vehicles reached the spot, but several homes and shops of the Hindus were completely engulfed in fire. Reports show that 108 Hindu families lost their livelihood in this riot.
Beauty Rani, an ex-member of Dighalia Union Parishad, states that many Hindus have fled the village after these riots. ”Almost all houses are locked. Only the elders of some families are at home. They, too, are scared… When we were being attacked, the police were there. They were watching from a distance and no one came to our rescue. The police can no longer be trusted, which is why people are leaving the village,” she lamented.
“After one group looted all our valuables, another group came and found our door open. As there was nothing left to loot, they set our home on fire,” 62-year-old Deepali Rani, whose house was gutted down by Islamists, said while speaking to local media.