Jamaat-e-Islami behind the pandal violence in Bangladesh, say officials

The needle of suspicion for the orchestration of violent attacks against Durga Puja pandals in southern Bangladesh is pointing towards the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) with the intention of embarrassing the Sheikh Hasina government and stoke communal fires over the alleged desecration of the Quran in Cumilla, southeast of Dhaka.

According to diplomats in Dhaka and New Delhi, there were attacks on mandaps, pandals and temples in Cumilla on October 13 afternoon after the alleged desecration of the religious text of Muslims by placing it near the feet of the idol of Devi Durga at a pandal. There are more than 3,000 pandals in Bangladesh observing Durga Puja at present.

As the news spread like wildfire through digital media, there were violent attacks on pandals in Noakhali, Chandpur, Cox’s Bazaar, areas around Chattogram, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Moulvibazara and Kurigram. However, there were no disturbances in Dhaka, Brahmanbaria, Jashore and other major cities.