The joyous festival of Durga Puja in Bangladesh was marred by violence and vandalism when Islamic extremists displayed inhumane behaviour in response to a Facebook rumour.

On Wednesday night, a Facebook post allegedly showing Hindus insulting the Quran went viral, prompting religious extremists to take to the streets and vandalise multiple Durga pandals in several areas.

One of the violence-hit pandals was of Nanua Dighi par in Cumilla. Shibu Prasad Dutta, the general secretary of Cumilla Mahanagar Puja Udjapon Committee dismissed the allegation of insulting the Quran, saying that someone placed a copy of the Quran at a Durga Puja pavilion in Nanua Dighir Par early in the morning while the guard was asleep.

"The criminals fled after taking a few photos of the scene. With the provocative photographs, the propaganda spread like wildfire in a matter of hours using Facebook," stated a district official.

He hinted at the involvement of members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islam.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council advised all Hindus in Cumilla to be alert. “Stay in the temple together. We are appealing to the Bangladesh Police for help in Nanua Dhighir par area,” the tweet by council read.

Hindu devotees were thrashed and temples in Chandpur's Hajiganj, Chattogram's Banshkhali, Chapainawabganj's Shibganj, and Cox's Bazar's Pekua were brutally attacked.

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Three Hindus are said to have been slain in the violent clash, but the police have yet to confirm this.

Several Bangladeshi Hindus and Hindu organisations flocked to Twitter to share images of vandalism.

Advocate Dr Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, Secretary-General of Bangladesh Jatio Hindu Mohajote, tweeted a video of the attack.

“The situation is terrible!! Attacks on 150 families in Shilpara, Cox’s Bazar, widespread vandalism, looting, vandalism of Hatiya in Noakhali, vandalism of idols in municipal Kalimandir, attack Vandalism, molestation of women, 2 people have been found dead in Chandpur,” he stated.

In yet another update, advocate Chandra shared the news that the publicity secretary of the Bangladesh National Hindu Youth Grand Alliance's Chandpur district branch had been beaten to death. 

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