A Facebook post mocking one of Islam’s holiest sites appeared to spark a string of violent attacks and lootings that left more than 100 people hurt in Eastern Bangladesh Sunday.
The online post showed the Hindu deity over a picture of the Kaaba, a large cube-shaped building in Mecca. Some rioters tried to apprehend a 27-year-old man they suspected of putting the picture online, but police have yet to determine if he posted it.
After nearly 2 hours of violence in the eastern town of Nasirnagar, at least 100 homes and five Hindu temples were looted. At least 150 men were injured, AFP reported.
Police have arrested nine men in connection with the incident including a 30-year-old Hindu man who authorities plan on charging with “breaching internet laws.”
Although religious violence is rare in the Muslim majority nation, unrest has increased, stemming from an uptick in Islamist activity in the South Asian country. Atheists, secular bloggers and foreigners have all been the targets of recent attacks.
“We are tired of such repeated incidents. It is very unfortunate that none of the culprits of previous attacks are brought to justice,” Hindu leader Rana Dasgupta noted.
Police reinforcements and members of Bangladesh's paramilitary border guard have been deployed in the area, around 94 miles east of Dhaka.
As recently as this past July, radical Islamists attacked a restaurant popular with expats, killing 20 hostages, 18 of whom were foreigners.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.