Narail incident: How will the administration avoid liability?

What happened in Dighalia of Lohagara upazila of Narail over a Facebook message of a college student is condemnable in every way. There has been a second incident of hurting religious sentiment on Facebook In less than a month in Narail.

On June 18, the acting principal of Narail Sadar Upazila United College, Swapan Kumar Biswas, was humiliated over a Facebook post of a student. Houses and temples of minority communities were vandalised and a house set on fire in Dighalia of Lohagara over similar reason. Those whose houses were vandalised or set on fire have nothing to do with that Facebook post. Their homes and temples were attacked only because the youth accused of insulting religious sentiment belongs to the minority community.

According to the administration, security was tightened at the spot. District Superintendent of Police, Additional Superintendent of Police, UNO and many government officials were present at the spot. Law enforcement personnel were deployed in every neighbourhood. Yet how could such attack take place is quite surprising. It does not matter how many administration officials went to the scene or how many members of law enforcement were deployed; what matters is whether they were able to prevent attacks, vandalism and arson.

Deepali Rani Saha, one of the victims of the attack, said the police arrived on Friday morning and assured them that security had been beefed up. Still, a group of people came and looted their house and left while another group set the house on fire. They were hiding in another house out of fear. According to media reports, the attackers were not large in number. Amid the patrols of law enforcers, they divided into separate groups of 10 to 12 and attacked the houses of the minorities.

If this is true, then the administration cannot avoid the responsibility of this attack. It is the duty of the law enforcers to protect the lives and property of the people, which they have completely failed to fulfil. A similar incident happened in United College, where the acting principal was humiliated in the presence of the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police.

Can we imagine that a member of the majority community in Bangladesh said something insulting about the religion of the minority and the members of the minority community attacked the people of the majority community or vandalised their houses. It is not hard to imagine what the situation will be in such an event.

It is not a matter of majority and minority. As a citizen of independent Bangladesh, every citizen has the right to security of life and property. Hurting someone's religious sentiments is not the same thing as wielding weapons at people of any religion. No one has the right to take the law into their own hands.

Legal action must be taken against those who attacked and set fire to the houses of minorities in Lohagara. No accused were tried over the attacks on minorities in Ramu, Nasirnagar and Santhia. A culture of impunity is fuelling attacks on minorities. Therefore, to stop attacks on minorities, criminals must be brought under punishment.