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Certain Iqbal Hossain kept holy Quran at puja mandap in Cumilla: Police

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Two Hindu women wail as they lose everything after miscreants set their homes on fire in Boro Karimpur area of Majhipara village in Pirganj, Rangpur on 17 October 2021 as part of a series of communal violence recently. Moinul Islam

Police in Cumilla said they have identified the man, Iqbal Hossain, who had kept holy Quran at the puja mandap in Cumilla that triggered a series of communal violence in various parts of the country, leaving several people dead and scores injured.

Thirty-five-year-old Iqbal Hossain, son of Nur Ahmed Alam, is from Suzanagar area of Cumilla city.

Cumilla superintendent of police (SP) Faruk Ahmed said police identified Iqbal Hossain by examining the CCTV footage.

He told Prothom Alo on Wednesday evening the several units of the police have made this dramatic progress in the investigation. Manhunt is underway to arrest Iqbal Hosssain, he added.

A copy of holy Quran was allegedly seen at a makeshift puja mandap set up on the north bank of Nanua Dighirpar on the occasion of Durga Puja on 13 October. After that, a group of people attacked the mandap and vandalised it indiscriminately on allegation of desecration of Quran.

On the same day, police fired shots to disperse a group of people who gathered to attack the Hindus in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, leaving four people dead.

The next day, two people were killed after Hindu temples, puja mandaps, businesses were attacked and vandalised in Noakhali’s Begumganj.

Hindu homes were torched, vandalised and looted in Pirganj in Rangpur on Sunday. Temples and puja mandaps also came under attack in various places of the country.

According to sources of Cumilla police, several teams of police from Dhaka and Cumilla conducted investigation for the past week following the Culmilla incident. CCTV footages were analysed and identification of Iqbal Hossain was confirmed after a thorough investigation.

Police said Iqbal Hossain is a vagabond but whether he is involved with any political party has not been ascertained as yet.

Cumilla SP Faruk Ahmed said details would be briefed on the matter tomorrow (Thursday).