Dhaka (dpa) - Investigators have arrested 44 people in an attempt to quell religious tension that broke out in eastern Bangladesh after a Muslim crowd recently vandalized Hindu homes and temples, police said Saturday.
Thirty-three were detained in an overnight raid for their alleged involvement in the October 30 attacks, chief of Brahmanbaria district police Mizanur Rahman said. That followed 11 previous arrests.
During the incident, hundreds of Muslims attacked Hindu homes and temples, allegedly inflamed because of a controversial social media post by a Hindu man.
Hindus are a religious minority in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Less than 10 per cent of the 160 million nation's inhabitants are Hindus.
The Facebook post, which showed an image of the Hindu god Shiva on top of the Great Mosque in Mecca, angered many Muslims.
Amid the violence, five homes belonging to Hindus were set on fire, prompting the government to deploy an additional 500 security personnel to maintain order in the Hindu village of Nasirnagar, which is located more than 90 kilometers east of the capital Dhaka.
The ruling Awami League party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expelled three of its local unit leaders for instigating the Muslim crowd to carry out the attacks on the religious minorities.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, an opposition party led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, accused the Awami League of carrying out the attacks.
The party asked the government to launch a judicial inquiry to bring the culprit to justice.
Human rights groups said the attacks on the Hindus were deliberate and demanded transparent investigation into the "mayhem."