The United Nations on Monday called on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to ensure an impartial inquiry into the recent attacks on people of the Hindu community in the country, The Hindu reported.

Bangladesh has witnessed a spell of violence against Hindus since October 13 following social media posts about the alleged desecration of the Quran in a Durga Puja pandal in Comilla district.

“Recent attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, fueled by hate speech on social media, are against the values of the Constitution and need to stop,” UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said on Monday. “...We call upon all to join hands to strengthen inclusive tolerant Bangladesh.”

Non-government organisation Amnesty International also expressed concern about the attacks. In a statement, the organisation’s South Asia Campaigner Saad Hammadi said that the attacks in Bangladesh are symptomatic of a “growing anti-minority sentiment in the country”.

“Such repeated attacks against individuals, communal violence and destruction of the homes and places of worship of minorities in Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities,” Hammadi said.

Amnesty International urged Bangladesh authorities to take urgent steps to protect minorities against such attacks and ensure access to justice.

The United States government also condemned attacks on the minority community in Bangladesh, PTI reported on Tuesday.

“Freedom of religion or belief is a human right,” a spokesperson for the US State Department said. “Every person around the world, regardless of their religious affiliation or belief, should feel safe and supported to celebrate important holidays.”

On Monday, hundreds of people held protests in Dhaka, calling for an end to the violence, Reuters reported. Demonstrators at the Dhaka University held banners that urged the police to identify the attackers and take action against them.

“Safety of minorities in the country must be ensured,” one of the banners said.

Incidents of violence

On Sunday, mobs set fire to at least 25 houses and shops belonging to people of the Hindu community living in three villages of the country’s Rangpur district. The police have detained at least 42 people in connection with the violence.

On October 16, at least 40 people were injured in the Feni city in violence that erupted after an attack on people protesting against the vandalism of Durga Puja venues.

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Monday assured that communal harmony will be protected in the country.

Last week, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had also promised to take action against the perpetrators of the violence.