Authorities in Thakugaon’s Sadar upazila imposed restrictions on public gatherings in the Rashik Lal Jeu Temple area on Thursday to avert any untoward incident ahead of Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Hindu community.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Shamsuzzaman invoked Section 144, that restricts freedom of assembly, apprehending a clash between two rival groups of devotees: one the followers of Sanatan Dharma (traditional religion, more commonly known as Hinduism) as practised here over thousands of years and another loyal to the International Society for Krishno Consciousness (Iskcon), a fairly recent, 20th century movement within Hinduism.
The restrictions applied under Section 144 of the CrPc have been in force in the area from Thursday afternoon and will continue for an indefinite period, the UNO added.
According to locals, the two groups have been at loggerheads for a long time over possession of the Rashik Lal Jeu temple land.
In September 2009, a group of Iskcon men stormed the house of Prafulla Chandra, president of Rashik Roy Jeu temple. A person died in the attack, while several were injured.
Thereafter, the upazila administration sealed the temple and took over the responsibility of managing the temple.
In the past, the administration has resorted to invoking Section 144 in the temple area several times to avert untoward incidents in various Pujas.