Chittagong Metropolitan Public Prosecutor (PP) Fakhruddin Chowdhury said it was nothing but arbitrary action by police to accuse persons who were already in jail. He told Prothom Alo, the case will become weak because of this and the other accused will take advantage.

An attempt was made to enter the Sompara Public Puja Mandap near Sarkarhat Bazar in Hathazari Upazila on 13 October and the archway of the mandap was vandalised due to allegations of insulting the Holy Quran in Cumilla. The next day, Hathazari Police Station sub-inspector (SI) Abidur Rahman named 61 people as plaintiffs and filed a case against 200 unidentified people. Junaid Mehedi's name is at number 15 out of 61 accused in the case while Syed Iqbal at 53 and Akram Uddin at 55.

According to jail sources, Syed Iqbal was sent to jail on 16 April this year in a case. Junaid Mehdi was sent to jail on 20 April and Akram Uddin on 10 May. Violence erupted in Hathazari on 26 March in protest of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh. They were arrested in the case filed in that incident.

Hathazari police station SI Abidur Rahman did not answer the phone when called. Chittagong District Superintendent of Police SM Rashidul Haque told Prothom Alo that they could have also issued orders from jail.

However, Shafiqul Islam Khan, senior superintendent of Chittagong Jail, said there was no scope for any accused to pass any message from the jail. He said the detainees live under tight security. At present, meetings with relatives is also closed.

Hathazari upazila BNP convener Nur Mohammad expressed surprise at the three accused in the case of vandalism. He said, the police are accusing the leaders and workers of the BNP affiliates only to harass them rather than identifying the real culprits.

Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddha Christian Oikka Parishad, said the police had acted to damage the case. He said, the policeman who has named the innocent people already in jail without verifying should be punished. Due to this incident, the real accused may get away.

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