Panic gripped a handful of Ahmadiyya Muslims living in ward 1 in Netrakona town as several hundred sectarian people vandalised their under-construction mosque on Friday afternoon.
About 400 people, mostly believed to be students from nearby madrassahs, vandalised the under- construction mosque with hammers, axes and other homemade weapons, said Netrakona Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat general secretary Hanif Ahamad.
He said the attack was carried out around 2:30pm in presence of two plainclothes police personnel.
‘Radical Islamists in the area are threatening us to leave the area for good or face dire consequences,’ said Hanif.
Though the police station was less than 10 minutes’ drive, it took more than an hour for police to arrive at the scene, after the attackers had left, alleged Hanif.
There were only five Ahmadiyya families living in the area and they had bought a Hindu residence to turn it into a mosque in July last year, he said.
No sooner had the transformation of the residential building into a mosque began than local radical Islamists came afoot to resist it, prompting police to suspend the construction work for indefinite period, said Hanif.
Few days ago police allowed the Ahmadiyyas to open the place and carry on construction works that began on Thursday.
‘Police are saying that they cannot protect so few of us against such a large majority of people,’ said Hanif.
Hanif filed a general diary with Netrakona Sadar police station on Saturday in connection with the vandalism.
Netrakona Sadar police officer-in-charge Tajul Islam refused to accept the building as a mosque rather he called it a ‘house of Ahmadiyyas’.
He, however, admitted that it had been vandalised and the loss had been estimated at worth Tk 20,000.
He claimed that police reached the scene immediately after receiving the news and chased away the attackers.