The administration should have understood what the situation could be as four or five organisations were opposing the religious congregation openly. Devotees from different mosques tried to go to the rally spot after offering their Jum’a prayers on Friday. When the police tried to intercept them, a clash broke out and two youths were killed. But the tension arose from Thursday and a section of people looted and set fire to the homes and businesses of the Ahmadiyya community. On Saturday too, rumours were spread to instigate people to take to the streets. They also looted a shoe outlet that day.

The people of the Ahmadiyya community consider themselves Muslims but another section of Muslims do not consider them so. This is a matter of faith and point of view. There could theoretical debates on this too. But this is in no way acceptable that a community won’t be allowed to organise religious rallies and be attacked.

Democracy and secularism – these are declared principles of our constitution. Everyone has the freedom of faith and right to expression. No section of people or the state can obstruct other people’s freedom of practicing their faith, though a section of people have been doing exactly that.

The demonstrating organisations said though they protested on the streets, they did not carry out any attack on the homes of the Ahmadiyya people. That means an investigation is necessary to find out who did this. What is the reason of not constituting any committee to investigate into the incident in Panchagarh when the government forms several such probe committees even in petty incidents?

The way Panchagarh-2 constituency MP and rail minister Nurul Islam has been trying to take political benefit by shifting the blame of the arson attack and vandalism on opposition BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is condemnable. The Ahmadiyya people brought the allegation of attack against the companions of the minister when he visited the attacked areas on Monday. We want the government to take action against the perpetrators whichever party they are from. But the real criminals will remain beyond the jurisdiction of law if the perpetrators are identified even before conducting any investigation.

The state must take up a stern stance on this. No action that hampers peace and harmony in the society can be entertained. Actions have to be taken to rehabilitate the victims fast with appropriate amount of compensation in Panchagarh. At the same time, we think the local administration in Panchagarh completely failed to take action and quell the situation. Forming a judicial inquiry committee is a must to investigate the incident.