Dhaka, Oct 18: Three idols of goddess Durga have been vandalised by unidentified miscreants in southern Bangladesh, the second such incident in the past two weeks as Hindus in the country kicked off their biggest festival, Durga Puja.
"They damaged the idols at a puja site in the darkness of night and fled the scene..the incident took place for the second time in the same district in the past 15 days," president of Bangladesh Puja Celebration Council Kajal Debnath told PTI.
Police rushed to spot after the incident.
"I have visited the site. Steps will be taken against those involved," said Satkhira Sadar police officer Emdadul Haque.
Debnath said ahead of the puja, sporadic incidents of attacks on idols were also reported in 16 other places despite an assurance of security during the festival. On October 6, five idols were vandalised at Puja site in Ashashuni Upazila.
The council leaders earlier had said the number of puja sites set up this year was 29,074.
"This (higher figure) indicates that the Hindus are in more festive mood this year," Debnath said.
He appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for ordering lawmakers of her ruling Awami League to stay at their constituencies during the puja so the Hidus could celebrate the festival more peacefully.
"But I would like to draw your attention to a point that the number of puja sites has increased while the number of (Hindu) worshippers is dwindling," referring to the trend of migration of Hindus to neighbouring India.
According to the 1951 census, Hindus were 22 per cent of the total population in the country, in 1974 the figure came down to 14 per cent.
According to the last 2011 census, Hindus consist only 8.4 per cent of the population.