A large number of influential locals have come under the scanner following Friday's mayhem in Thakurpara of Rangpur that stemmed from a Facebook post.
Sirajul Islam, an Imam of a mosque in a nearby village, and Alamgir Hossain, a trader, filed a case against one Titu Chandra Roy with Gangachara Police Station, accusing him of making a post on Facebook that hurt religious sentiments of Muslims.
Sirajul and Alamgir then met imams in the area and made them deliver inflammatory speeches against the Hindus of Thakurpara village. Loudspeakers were rented or the horn mics of mosques were used for spreading hatred, locals and police said.
On the night of November 4, hundreds of people gathered in front of Paglapeer Mosque in Rangpur Sadar for bringing out a procession demanding the death penalty of Titu for his alleged Facebook post.
Rafiqul Islam Master, president of the Paglapeer Mosque committee, said Sirajul and Alamgir even tried to persuade him into organising a movement against the Hindus.
But the local influential people pilled on.
Anticipating an untoward incident, the villagers of Thakurpara had even tried to solve the issue through talks with Sirajul. The imam refused to sit with them, the villagers claimed.
Police arrested Sirajul on Saturday morning.
On Friday, hundreds of people attacked Thakurpara village chanting “Allahu Akbar”. They torched several houses of the Hindus, vandalised others, looted their valuables and cattle.
A number of elders were also beaten up.
About the Facebook post, Mizanur Rahman, superintendent of Rangpur police, said he sought help of IT experts to look into the matter. “How and where was the Facebook ID opened and who made the post? Everything will be investigated by the police,” he said.
Around 60 people had been arrested until yesterday, said Zinnat Ali, officer-in-charge of Gangachara Police Station. A case was also filed with the police station accusing 2,000 people on Saturday.
Ziton Bala, mother of Tito Chandra Roy, said, “My son's name is Tito; people are telling me his name is Titu and it's not true.”
Tito has been away from home for the last four years. He did not maintain contacts with his family members since he left home, said villagers.
He last visited his home seven months ago but left soon after. Since then, he has been traceless.
The Daily Star correspondent obtained a mobile phone number which was used for opening the Facebook ID around two months ago. The phone number was found unused and police could not verify who the number was registered to.
The owner of the Facebook account generally shared posts or uploaded screenshots of others' posts.
The Hindus of Thakurpara village are still in panic. Most are preferring to stay inside the village. They are having their meal at Brahmanpara Government Primary School.
Hired labours have already begun rebuilding their homes.
Meanwhile, Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) organised a protest rally in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club, demanding exemplary punishment of the people involved in the attack on the religious minority community in Rangpur.
Sujan members urged people to be united in resisting such attacks.