Sheikh Hasina said that the incidents of communal violence were “ideas of some people to disturb Bangladesh’s rapid progress”

After reports of attacks on Durga Puja pandals emerged from across the country, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave a stern warning on Thursday to “bad elements” who are trying to "disturb communal harmony".

Addressing a gathering of the Hindu community on the occasion of Durga Puja at the Dhakeswari temple in Dhaka, Sheikh Hasina said that action would be taken against the perpetrators of communal violence in Comilla.

As per Bangladeshi media, at least four persons were killed after violence erupted on Wednesday following social media allegations of blasphemy at a Durga Puja pandal in Comilla, about 100 kilometres from Dhaka.

Following the violence in Comilla, incidents of vandalism were also reported from Durga Puja pandals in Chandpur’s Hajiganj, Chattogram’s Banshkhali and Cox’s Bazar's Pekua, reports said.

Assuring action against the rioters, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina said, “We follow the ideals of Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman. Bangladesh is a secular country. People of all religions shall live together in Bangladesh. Religion may be personal, but festival is universal. And people in Bangladesh have always celebrated such festivals together.”

“But at times there are some bad elements that tend to disturb the harmony with certain incidents. This is extremely unfortunate. As far as the incident in Comilla is concerned, investigations are on and we shall find the perpetrators out. Stern action will be taken against those behind such acts no matter which religion they belong to,” she added.

The Bangladesh PM further said that these incidents of communal violence were “ideas of some people to disturb Bangladesh’s rapid progress”. "People who can’t win people’s confidence, and have no ideology, indulge in such acts. But everyone must stay alert and action will surely be taken against the perpetrators,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Meanwhile, a Bangladeshi home ministry spokesperson said that the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) troops have been deployed in 22 districts across the country to stop the spread of violence, reported news agency PTI.

The elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the armed police were also ordered to be on guard with the BGB in 22 of the 64 administrative districts and elsewhere to contain any violence, he said.