ISKCON Temple Attack In Sylhet Shows Radicalism Is Now Out Of Control In Bangladesh

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6:20 pm 3 Sep, 2016

Police in Bangladesh arrested at least 15 people for attacking the ISKCON temple in Kajolshah area of Sylhet district in Bangladesh.

A mob started pelting the temple with stones in the afternoon of August 2. Before the violence could escalate further, the police stepped into action and fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

The action left around seven people injured including a former woman councillor.


Local media initially reported that the stone throwing incident was because of a land dispute. When the reason became clear by Saturday morning, it again reflected on increasing radicalization in Bangladesh’s society.

The attack on the temple happened because they were singing kirtan at the time of Juma namaaz.

ISKCON temple authorities said that a painting competition was being held for children at the time of the attack and kirtan were on.

Those inside ISKCON were fortunate because the gate of the temple was closed when the mob attacked it.


An injured woman is being taken away from the scene. Daily Star

An injured woman is being taken away from the scene. Daily Star

That a mob tried to destroy a temple just for kirtan ceremony at the time of Juma cannot be overlooked as just another incident.

Authorities in Bangladesh are aware that a wave of radicalism is sweeping the country not just in the lower strata of the society but also the highest – as was seen during the Gulshan terror attack. Yet the government has been found doing very little to tackle the extremist wave.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been criticised for not been able to bring to justice the killers of the 30 people who were brutally assassinated in different attacks by radical Islamists just because they held secular views.

At the same time, she has not been able to prevent Islamic State gaining a foothold in her country with help from the already strong terror groups such as Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).


Hasina is finding it difficult to tackle the fundamentalist-backed Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by her only big rival Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of Major General Ziaur Rahman, who betrayed and killed Hasina’s father, Mujibur Rahman, in a coup.

BNP has the strong support of all the extremists in Bangladesh and the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).

In his in-depth analysis of Bangladesh’s growing fundamentalism and the threat it poses to India, retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, Colonel R Harihran writes: “With Bangladesh’s political discourse providing space for violent means to settle scores, it is not going to be easy for PM Hasina to separate political extremism from jihadi extremism as they are seamlessly interwoven.”


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