Former US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has condemned the violence against Hindus in Bangladesh during Durga Puja. She criticised the attackers as "jihadists" who "believe it's pleasing to God to burn and destroy temples."
Communal violence broke out in several places in Bangladesh last week after rumours on social media about the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja venue. Sixty-six houses were vandalised and at least 20 homes of Hindus were set on fire last week at a village about 255 km from Bangladesh's capital Dhaka. 11 Hindus were killed in the violence, and over 800 were injured, news agency PTI reported quoting local media.
"Violence against Hindus in Bangladesh: for jihadists to believe it's pleasing to God to burn and destroy temples shows how far away from God they really are," Ms Gabbard tweeted, along with a video showing damaged Durga Puja pandals in Bangladesh.
"It broke my heart to see such hate and violence directed towards devotees of God in their temples in Bangladesh. For these jihadists to believe that it is pleasing to God to burn and destroy temples and the murti of such a saintly person, that's his divine grace, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, this just shows how far away from God they really are," Ms Gabbard said in the video that she tweeted.
Violence against Hindus in Bangladesh: for jihadists to believe it's pleasing to God to burn and destroy temples shows how far away from God they really are. pic.twitter.com/uoYFxqAnfz— Tulsi Gabbard ???? (@TulsiGabbard) October 21, 2021
"God is love and his true servants embody and manifest that love in the world. Now is the time for the supposedly secular government of Bangladesh to protect that country's minorities including Hindus, Christians and Buddhists from the jihadist forces of hate," Ms Gabbard said.
The Bangladesh government had promised swift action against those behind the attacks. Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said she would "hunt down" the attackers. "The incidents in Comilla are being thoroughly investigated. Nobody will be spared. It doesn't matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished," she said while exchanging greetings with Hindus during an event at a temple in Dhaka.
The police said over 450 suspected temple attackers have been arrested in different parts of the country, PTI reported. A hunt is on for more suspects, the police said.