10 injured in attack on Iskcon temple in Bangladesh

Sylhet: A clash between Hindu worshippers at an Iskcon temple and Muslim devotees from a nearby mosque in Sylhet, a major city in northeastern Bangladesh, allegedly over a land dispute left at least 10 people injured, media reports said.

Those injured include former ward councillor Jebunnahar Shirin and International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) temple employee Rajendra Keshob Das in the clash on Friday.

Sylhet Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner S.M. Rokan Uddin told Dhaka Tribune the clash took place after Friday prayers when Muslim devotees went to the temple to confront the authorities there for not stopping the devotional songs that were being played at the temple.

“Muslim devotees went to the temple before the Jumma prayers and had requested the temple authorities to stop the devotional songs while the prayers are held. However, when the songs were not stopped, the devotees went there again and locked in an altercation,” Rokan Uddin claimed, the Dhaka Tribue reported.

At one point, both groups started hurling bricks at one another leaving ten people injured, he added.

However, Iskcon Principal Navadwipa Dwija Gauranga Das Brahmachari says the clash took place due to a dispute over land.

“Using microphones in the nearby mosque during the Jumma prayer, locals who had allegedly grabbed a land property of Iskcon instigated the Muslim devotees to attack,” Gauranga Das told Daily Star.

“We were attacked and we want justice for this. Until justice is done, we will keep protesting,” Brahmachari said adding that the temple authorities were considering filing a case in the matter.

Police rushed to the spot and fired 15 teargas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control, leaving six pedestrians injured.

Additional policemen were deployed to avoid any further unwanted incident.

The attack on the Hindu temple comes comes after a senior Hindu priest Jogeswar Roy, 45, was decapitated in his temple in northern Bangladesh in February this year.

December last year saw 10 persons injured when unidentified assailants hurled three crude bombs inside the premises of a temple in northern Bangladesh where over 5,000 people had gathered for a show to mark a Hindu festival.