Several days after Islamists instigated rioting in Bangladesh’s Narail area with the excuse of blasphemy, recently leaked CCTV footage revealed the methodical way in which they planned the assault on the Hindu community.

According to an exclusive report by Ekatoor TV, a group of young Muslim men attacked Hindu families’ homes and businesses on July 15 this year in the Sahapara neighborhood in Narail.

Although their faces were visible on the CCTV, the local political and religious leaders who were leading the mob from the front denied any involvement in the crime. Locals claim that the attackers were not ‘unknown’ and came from nearby communities.

The Islamists were seen leaving the neighborhood masjid and walking toward Sahapara 30 minutes prior to the incident. According to Ekatoor TV, some of the assailants were communicating with their handlers over the phone about the situation on the ground.

The aggressive crowd was being led by two elderly guys at about 6:13 p.m. on July 15 according to CCTV evidence. The two are the leaders of the hardline Bangladeshi group Islami Andolan (Islamic Movement of Bangladesh). One belongs to the party’s Nayagram section, while the other is a leader in Patikbari.

Eight minutes later, Manirul Zaman, a local tea vendor, was observed destroying Hindu-owned businesses alongside other Muslim adolescents. Manirul refused to take part in the attack despite being exposed as the perpetrator.

He claimed that two young lads from the masjid asked him to go there. He defended himself by saying, “I went there after the fighting was over. Violence against the minority Hindu community persisted in the meantime. Sheikh Masuduzzaman Masud, the Awami League’s leader, was seen among the assailants at around 6:26 o’clock. Additionally, he was spotted conversing with some of the Islamists there.

He asserted that he had gone to Sahapara in order to control the irrational crowd rather than take part in the deliberate attacks. A group of police officers and local leaders were observed advancing toward Sahapara at around 7:10 pm.

A Hindu guy named Gobindo Saha’s home was burned down 19 minutes later. At that time, there was a blackout in the region, which made it easier for the attackers to flee. The attackers, a group of Muslim guys, were observed storming out of Sahapara and heading towards the neighborhood bazaar at around 7:28 p.m.

Some of them came back to carry out more arson and vandalism crimes. To put out the fire, a different police unit arrived at the scene. Despite the presence of a strong police presence in the neighborhood, it is still unclear how the Islamists caused such havoc.

The fire department didn’t arrive at the scene to put out the fire that destroyed the Hindus of Sahapara’s shelter and means of subsistence until after 9 o’clock that fateful day.
The Islamists asserted that a Facebook post made by an 18-year-old Hindu college student called Akash Saha offended their religious feelings. The savage mob set out to obliterate the livelihood of the 108 Hindu families under the guise of blasphemy.

Beauty Rani, an ex-member of Dighalia Union Parishad, claims that many Hindus have left the Sahapara area as a result of the Islamist attack.

She stated, “Almost all houses are locked. Only the elders of some families are 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 and that is why people are leaving the village.”

The 62-year-old Deepali Rani, whose house was burned down in front of her, was one of the victims of the vicious attack. She told the Daily Star, “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.”

Akash Saha and Deepali Rani are not in any way related. Despite this, the Islamist mob did not spare her home. She emphasized, “My house was burned down only because the student is Hindu and I am also Hindu.”

“I don’t know how long this violent danger will follow us around”, the 62-year-old said. “Who will bring justice to us? Who will guarantee our safety? … If I had been inside the house when it was set on fire, I would have perished. God preserved me. But is there any chance of survival here? I currently only have my sari on.”

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