Supported by Awami League, she won in the election. Police said Ridhoy Hasan's father Delwar Hossain, 42, and his brother Zubayer Hossain, 18, were arrested in connection with the attacks on Monday. They were arrested in connection with the case filed by Hajiganj police station sub-inspector Younus Mia. Police said Ridhoy is on the run after the incident.

Local sources and witnesses said a group of youths aged 15-22 years gathered there between 6:30pm and 8:30pm after the status by Ridhoy Hasan. Most of them are members of youth gangs.

They started bringing out the procession at 8:00pm. The procession passed Sri Sri Rajlaxmi Narayan Jeur Akhra twice along the main road in Hajiganj municipality area. At the time, around 1500 Hindu devotees were present at puja mandap there. When the procession started, policemen on guard in front of the puja mandap.

Local sources said the number of people started increasing in the procession. Supporters of different political parties including BNP and enthusiastic locals joined the procession. Youth from various villages of Hajiganj also started joining the procession. At one stage, the number of participants in the procession increased to about 2,000. The youth went in front of the puja mandap and started pelting stones. Senior citizens in the locality tried to stop them, but in vain.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, local Dileep Kumar Shah said panic gripped the puja mandap premises during the attack.

Witnesses and police said Hajiganj police station members took position at six puja mandaps as the size of the procession was increasing. The largest part of the procession was in front of the central mandap. Attacks were carried out at six puja mandaps simultaneously between 8:00pm to 8:30pm. Police used batons trying to stop the processionists. Later they fired 109 rubber bullets, but failed to bring the situation under control. Four people were killed on the spot. They are all under 23 years of age. Another persons died of bullet injuries yesterday, Tuesday.

On condition of anonymity, several Awami League leaders alleged those who led the procession are the followers of general secretary of municipality unit Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL).

Hajiganj municipality major and municipal Awami League president Mahbubul Alam said he heard there were followers of Mehedi Hasan among the attackers. But he is not sure about it. He also said they tried at their best to tackle the attack.

Denying the allegation, Mehedi Hasan said, "I will shoulder the responsibility if any of my municipal Chhatra League men took part in the attacks and procession. Many have been spreading propaganda being jealous of me as I maintain political supremacy in my area."

He said, "Followers and family members of Hajiganj upazlia Chhatra League president Khokon Boli took part in the attacks. On the contrary we tried to tackle the attacks."

When asked whether Ridhoy Hasan who allegedly called for movement is an activist of Chhatra League or not, Mehedi Hasan said the Chhatra League is a big organisation. He does not know whether Ridhoy is a member of BCL.

Local sources said several members of Khokon Boli's family are involved in BCL. It is locally alleged they took part in the attack. They are on the run.

About the allegation, Khokon Boli was contacted over phone, but his phone was found to be switched off.

Hajiganj police station sources said three cases were filed in connection with the attack. So far 19 people have been arrested over the incident. Eight of them are under 23 years old. Five are under 30. Others are between 35 to 45 years.

Hajiganj circle of police ASP and member of the deputy commissioner-led investigation committee Sohel Mahmud said to Prothom Alo, "We have got some video footage of attackers at puja mandap. We are examining those and identifying the attackers and arresting them. We are also identifying and arresting those who instigated the attacks by posting status on the social media."

'Jamaat-Hefazat activists identified'

An investigation committee led by Chandpur deputy commissioner has been formed to investigate the Hajiganj incident.

Sources in the committee said the committee formed on 15 October has identified several members (rokon) of Jamaat and a number of Hefazat activists.

It is learnt that the committee was given one week to submit the report. It sought more time to complete the investigation. The committee could not submit the report in due time as they got some new sources and want to explore new information.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.

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