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Dhaka Riot, 1941


Dhaka Riot, 1941 Hindu-Muslim communal violence that started on 14 march 1941 out of a trifling matter. The conch-shell workers at Shankari Bazar were celebrating the Holi. Incidentally coloured water fell on a Burqa-clad Muslim lady and there was a minor clash that the police brought under control. On 18 March a Muslim was stabbed to death in Kabiraj Lane and a Muslim boy was killed when a Hindu mob attacked Manohar Khan Bazar. On the evening of the same day a Muslim hawker was found murdered in Gandaria. The Muslims in retaliation attacked and put fire on Hindu shops at Chawk Bazar and Maulvi Bazar. On 19 March Hindus and Muslims clashed at the Victoria Park area when the Muslim Provincial Library and the Hindu Associated Press were set on fire. On 21 March a sub-divisional officer was stabbed near the Lion Cinema Hall. Mosques at Thatari Bazar and Rankin Street and a temple at south Maisundi were attacked and desecrated.

The riot soon spilled over the adjoining areas. Great communal tension brewed in Narayanganj port town. There were certain incidents in Keraniganj and Munshiganj, but they were of minor importance compared to the events in Raipur, Shibpur and Narsingdi. News and rumour spread across that Muslims were oppressed and their mosques desecrated by the Hindus in Dhaka.

On 3 April 1941, Hatch Barwell, a police official was severely beaten at Rahimabad and his revolver was snatched away. According to police report 2,519 households of 81 villages were attacked and looted affecting 15,724 persons in these areas. The victims were predominantly Muslims in Dhaka and Hindus in the rural areas. [Manzur Ahsan]