Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, the onslaught by Hefazat-e-Islam across the country including Brahmanbaria and Harhazari of Chattogram caused damage worth Tk 1 billion. Both government and private properties were damaged in the mayhem. Maximum damage was done in Brahmanbaria.
According to Prothom Alo report, Ustad Alauddin Khan Music Academy auditorium in Brahmanbaria was completely destroyed- as the mob set fire on 550 chairs, 20 sofa, 22 Air Conditioners. The mob targeted more than 58 institutions and establishments in the city. including 31 government and semi-government institutions, 12 private establishments, three private educational institutions, one cultural organisation, one Hindu temple, three private and party offices and seven houses of Awami League and Chhatra League leaders. And 26 of the establishments were set on fire.
As per government accounts, 13 people were killed in the three days of violence inflicted by Hefazat-e-Islam. Hefezat claimed the number of deaths to be 15. Another four were killed in Chattogram’s Hathazari.
Hefazat's followers carried out the destruction, according to the government. On the other hand, Mufti Mubarak Ullah, general secretary of Brahmanbaria Hefazat-e-Islam, said they did not order the attack. Madrasa students took to the streets on the first day following the incidents in Dhaka and Chattogram amid the protests against Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh. The next day, Awami League leaders and activists led by local MPs beat up the madrasa students and massive clashes ensued on the day of hartal. On the afternoon of 26 March, the Brahmanbaria railway station was attacked and set on fire.
Citing eyewitnesses, Prothom Alo reported that footage of two CC cameras of 28 March of the zila parishad office and Anandamoyee Kalimandir, showed some young men in shirts and trousers, along with the madrasa students. But a government cannot dispense their duty by simply providing an account of the losses. Who will take the responsibility for the losses amounting to millions of taka and the death of 17? Surely the government is well aware of the political position of Hefazat and their capacity.
The question is, why was the government not alert about the programmes announced by Hefazat-e-Islam? Why didn’t any of the intelligence agencies inform the government beforehand? Hefazat has engaged in such clashes earlier. How did the government reamin so calm about those incidents? The mayhem continued for three days in Brahmanbaria. Did the administration and the law enforcement agencies have nothing to do with this. Could they not protect the lives and property of the people?
The government's understanding with Hefazat-e-Islam has been discussed in various quarters. Everyone has the right to carry out peaceful programmes in a democratic country. But no one has the right to destroy the property and lives in the name of carrying out the programmes.
We hope that the allegations of violence and destruction of property against Hefazat will be properly investigated and action taken against those responsible. Under no circumstances should anyone be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Similarly, the serious allegations made by Hefazat against local MPs beating them up with BCL workers also needs to be investigated.