Leaders of a minority Muslim sect in Bangladesh on Saturday accused “fanatics” of digging up the body of a baby girl from a cemetery grave just hours after being buried and dumping it by a roadside.
The incident, which has sparked outrage on social media, is the latest targeting Ahmadi Muslims who many mainstream Muslims consider “infidels”.
The three-day-old girl was buried in a cemetery in Ghatura in the eastern district of Brahmanbaria on Thursday, local Ahmadi leader, S.M. Selim said.
“Fanatics” dug up the child’s body shortly after and left it by a roadside, he added. A photo of the body laid on a straw mat on a road has been widely shared and drawn angry comments.
“Her crime is she was born to an Ahmadi Muslim family,” said Mr Selim.
Police in the district said no complaint had been made however and one officer said the incident had been resolved “peacefully”.
A local councillor, Azad Hazari, said he had intervened with police and the child was finally buried in another graveyard some 10 miles (16 kilometres) away.
A local cleric Munir Hossain denied the body had been exhumed but said local Muslims prevented the parents from burying the baby at the cemetery.
“It is against the Sharia to let an infidel be buried in a Muslim graveyard,” he told AFP. “The pious Muslims of the village would never let it happen.”
The Ahmadis are an offshoot of the mainstream Sunni Muslim branch but are controversial because they believe their founder was a prophet.
They have faced attacks and had religious rights taken away in some Muslim majority countries, including Pakistan. The 100,000 Ahmadis in Bangladesh have come under regular attack.
In recent months, hardline Muslims have threatened to hold protests demanding that the sect be declared “non-Muslims” by the authorities.
In 1999, a bomb at an Ahmadi mosque in the southern city of Khulna, killed at least eight worshippers.
A 2015 suicide blast at an Ahmadi mosque in the northwestern town of Bagmara injured three people.