Afghanistan, Pakistan & Bangladesh Documents

PERSECUTED HINDUS IN BANGLADESH PRESS DIGEST 2013

 

 

 PERSECUTED HINDUS IN BANGLADESH

PRESS DIGEST

2013

HUMAN RIGHTS CONGRESS FOR BANGLADESH MINORITIES

(HRCBM)

e-mail: < hrcbm.dhaka@gmail.com>

www.hrcbm.org

DHAKA- BANGLADESH

Tel:  88-02- 9557590; 88-027119977; mobile; 01720808810

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annexure

 

 PERSECUTED HINDUS IN BANGLADESH

PRESS DIGEST

2013

 

 

Report  in February 2013

Jamaat men attack Hindus in Noakhali

After Jamaat executive council member Delwar Hossain Sayedee was awarded death sentence for 1971 war crimes, the attacks there were carried out from a Jamaat procession protesting the verdict.
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 earlier in the day had judged that the Jamaat policymaker was to hang for his crimes against humanity including genocide, murder, rape, arson, loot and persecution during the Liberation War.
Right after the verdict, leaders and activists of Jamaat and its student affiliate Islami Chhatra Shibir took out the procession at Begumganj’s Rajganj Bazar.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Begumganj circle Mahbub Alam Khan said attacks were carried out from that procession and the Hindu temples at Rajganj Bazar, Thakur Barhi and Bainnabarhi areas were vandalised.
The attackers also set the residences of Bhuiyan and Banik families on fire, leaving six people injured.
ASP Khan said additional police forces were deployed later.

Meanwhile, activists of Jamaat supporters clashed with police in Noakhali town following the verdict. Shibir activists detonated several crude bombs at that time.
He said police fired at least a hundred rounds from the shotguns to take control of the situation.

 

Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami on Thursday attacked temples and houses of the Hindus at Noakhali’s Begumganj.

Source: bdnews24.com, Published: 28-02-2013

Demolition of statue of Hindu deities in Sripur and Kalkini

Some villains have demolished a statue lord Shiva worshiped in a temple of Goddess Kali in Sripur. After breaking down the deity, wicked have taken away the head of the statue at Sardarpara near Sabdalbazar in Sripur Upazilla in Magura district.

It has been known that the Hindu people of this area fell asleep after two-day long continuous festival of Kali Puja at Monday night and on the next day the kirtan and prasad distribution held in Pavan Sarkar’s residence. At this chance some unknown goons demolished the head of the statue of Lord Shiva lying under the Goddess Kali. This happened in the dark night of Tuesday. In morning after being informed the S.P of Magura district Jihadul Kabir along with S.I of Nakol police camp visited the place of incident. They ensured that they will immediately investigate the incident and take legal actions.

On the other hand in Kalkini of Madaripur another same incident occurred. Some evils broke the statue of Goddess Kali, Goddesh Shitala and some other statues of Hindu deities at the house of Sudhir Biswas of Jhaulata village of Kalkini police station in Madaripur. The O.C of Kalkini P.S told BDMW that they will investigate the case and arrest the alleged perpetrator as soon as possible.

Source: Daily Amar Desh, Published: 28-02-2013

Hindu Mother died hearing the news of rape of her daughter

A truck driver raped a college going Hindu girl in Lalmanirhat district.  Police arrested the rapist Abdus Sattar and his assistant Nazma Begum. Moreover the family of the victim is afraid of insecurity.

The victim is a 2nd year student of higher secondary class in Begum Kamrunnesa College at Durakuti in Lalmanirhat. On last Saturday the victim was going to her college. Meanwhile a woman named Nazma Begum called the victim for some reason to her resident. The truck driver, Abdus Sattar was waiting there and attacked the girl and raped her before she realised the trap or escaped. Hearing her screaming the neighbours rushed to that place, but meanwhile the perpetrators fled away. As the local leaders and people raised their voice against the violence, the police took rapid action.  On the very next day the Sub-Inspector of district police, Mr. Mahbub Hasan, raided with his team and arrested the rapist and his associate. The Superintend of Police Habibur Rahman informed that the perpetrators provided important information about the rape case. He also assured security of the victim’s family.

On the other hand, the mother of the victim Chakobala had a stroke and died soon after hearing the news. The father of the victim lives in Chittagong, a distant district, for earning their livelihood. Now the victim, along with her younger brother is worried for insecurity of their life.

While investigating, the Officer-in-Charge Md. Jamir Uddin confirmed Bangladesh Minority Watch that the incidents are true and the perpetrators have been arrested. He told, “Medical test for the rape case has been performed and the victim herself filed a ‘rape case’ against this incident.” The case no. is 03, dated 03-02-2013 under section 7/30 of Women and Children Repression Act, 2003.

Source: Daily Janata, Published: 11-02-2013 (Translated from Bengali)

Mayor Lokman accused for land grabbing of minority Hindus

In Barisal disctrict Mayor Lokman Hossain, the general secretary of Upazela Awamileague of Bakergonj, has been severely accused for grabbing Hindus’ land. General public are terrified to express opinion against mayor Lokman about his multi-purpose oppression on the minorities. Victims are not telling anything for the threat of mayor Lokman. Mayor Lokman and his family members and relatives are misusing their political power. About four months ago Lokman grabbed about one and a half acre of lands owned by local Hindu family. The original owner of the land was Late Rajeshwar Saha. Now his four sons Nirmal Chandra Saha, Gopal Chandra Saha, Khokan Chandra and Swapan Kumar Saha have are claiming the ownership of the land in right of inheritance. They have filed a case in the police station of Bakergonj, case no. is 90/13.  Within this time mayor Lokman has started building a super market on the claimed land. The court has noticed the alleged perpetrators to ‘show cause’ why the construction would not be permanently stopped.

Source: Daily Janata, Published: 12-02-2013 (Translated from Bangla)

Rapist Chairman made raped Hindu woman’s family flee India

A Hindu woman with her family fled India after being raped by the chairman of Kachua Upazilla, Bagerhat. After this incident the inhabitants of Charkathi village (where the incident happened) are in panic of the chairman.

On 2nd January the journalists of Bagerhat district visited Charkathi village. The villagers described the incindent but daunted to express their name. They told that they are in panic of Sheikh Mahfujur Rahman, the chairman of Upazilla Parishad and convener of Awamileague of Kachua Upazilla as well. Nobody dared to say anything against him by name.

On last 19th December the chairman forcefully raped a housewife of Daspara of Charkathi village. She heartly requested him not to destroy her but she could not save herself. After this incident he threatened her to leave this country with her family, otherwise they would be killed. The incident being disclosed and in threat of public representative, she with her family left their house and properties and fled in search of shelter in India.

An aged person of 60 years told that he never thought that a public representative can do such types of inhuman acitiviy. Everybody told that she and her family have fled to save themselves. The villagers did not disclose many other occurrences of the chairman to the journalist for lack of security.

Upazilla Chairman Sheikh Mahfuzur Rahman was absent at his office and his mobile phone (+8801711341037 & +8801711341038) was also switched off.

The Superintendent of Police at Bagerhat told the journalists that he has ordered the Officer-in-Charge of the Kachua police station to find out the victim and thereby take legal action. Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat district, Md. Shukur Alli told that a perpetrator, whatever power he holds, legal actions shall be taken against him.

Source: Daily Manabjamin, Published: 03-01-2013

Fire on the Hindus’ houses and kidnap of a girl at Galachipa

On 21st January at Chotogabua village of Galachipa police station of Patuakhali district Majibur Rahman Tipu (28) son of Anwar Hossain Howladar accompanied with 15/16 terrorists attacked the house of Anil Baghmar at night. At the time of attack there was the day-labourer Anil Baghmar, his daughter-in-law Kajal Rani, Manoranjan Baghmar, his daughter Ritu Moni and a baby inside the house. Breaking the door they entered into the house, kidnapped Ritu Moni (17) and robbed others ornaments and properties.

When they were crying to get back Ritu Moni, Anwar Hossain who was abating the attack ordered the gang of terrorists to set fire on their houses. The terrorists burnt the houses and demolished their only shelter to live. Now they are passing their time in panic and they cannot sleep or feed themselves properly.

The terrorists not only abducted Ritu Moni, burnt houses and robbed properties but also they threatened that if the victims try to take any legal action, either they will have to leave this country or they will be killed.

The main issue of this incident is the dispute regarding lands between Anwar Hossain Howladar and Manoranjan Bagmar. 72 years old Manoranjan Baghmar complained that Anwar Hossain who works as the assistant of an advocate has wrongfully possessed their 3 acres and 38 decimals of lands many years ago. To get back possession of this land a suit is pending at the civil court. Recently Anwar Hossain possessed their 80 decimals land. To get back this land they filed another suit in the Galachipa executive magistrate court.

Anwar Hossain has been threatening since the filing of the suit to withdraw that. Meanwhile Anwar Hossain along with his goons attacked the houses of that minority Hindus and forcefully abducted their daughter.

On 23rd January Anil Baghmar has lodged a FIR in Galachipa P.S. accusing Mujibur Rahman Tipu, Rasel, Delwar Hossain, Bachchu Howladar, Jahangir Howladar, Joulas Howladar, Fazlul Haque Howladar, Anwar Hossain Howladar and other 7/8 unknown persons. Now they only want to get back their daughter and justice.

S.M Ziaul Haque, the officer-in-charge of Galachipa police station informed Bangladesh Minority Watch that he is investigating the case with due care and one of the accused perpetrators Rasel has already been arrested. They are trying to arrest the other perpetrators and rescue the abducted girl. On 30th January the High Court Division ordered to rescue the girl within two days and appear her at the court. The HCD also ordered to arrest the accused and repair the burnt houses at government cost and ensure their safety. Source: Dainik Janakantha, Published: 28 January, 2013

 

Report – March 2013

 

Bangladesh Minority Watch has investigated a number of cases in the month of March. Short descriptions of the cases are stated here.

A  Situation Note from HRCBM-Dhaka   March 7, 2013

 

Jamaat-Shibir attacks on Hindu community and their temples

Attacks on 3 more temples in Bangladesh

Fanatics vandalised idols and torched temples in Comilla, Netrokona and Bhola districts in the dark of Tuesday night, creating widespread panic among the local Hindu community.
In Comilla, miscreants vandalised a Hindu temple and set it ablaze at Chapatali village of Mohammadpur East Union under Daudkandi upazila early yesterday, said Abul Faysal, officer-in-charge of Daudkandi Police Station.
Subhash Bhoumik, a resident of Chapatali, said locals kept vigil around the temple till 2:30am yesterday in the wake of attacks on minority communities across the country, reports a correspondent from Comilla.
“We found the tin-shed temple in the morning totally gutted,” he said, adding “Five idols of gods and goddesses were destroyed.”In Netrokona, around 120 kilometres northeast of Daudkandi, another Hindu temple came under attack in the same way in the early hours yesterday. Miscreants destroyed five Hindu idols before setting the temple ablaze at Bangla-Dashpara village under Netrokona Sadar upazila, reports our district correspondent.
Police and the local Hindu sources said the temple was situated on a field around half-a-kilometre away from the village.Around 11:00 pm on Tuesday, locals saw a fire coming out of the temple. The villagers immediately rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control.Tapan Chandra Talukder, a resident of the village, said they did not know who attacked the temple and when it was set on fire. “The entire community is living in fear.”
Anil Chandra Das, another resident, told this correspondent that none was arrested so far in connection with the incident.
Anis Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Netrokona, and Police Super Mohammad Zakir Hossen visited the spot.
In Bhola, miscreants vandalised the idol of Hindu goddess Kali at a Hindu temple at Pakkhiya union of Borhanuddin upazila early yesterday.Bhobotosh, a custodian of the temple, told The Daily Star that they witnessed some four to five men moving suspiciously near the temple on Tuesday night.Chapa Rani, wife of Bhobotosh, found the idol vandalised when she went to the temple to worship in the following morning, reports our Bhola correspondent.
Gouranga Dey, secretary of the district Puja Committee, said, “We have requested the authorities concerned to take necessary action for safety of the minorities.”On the same night, another group of miscreants set ablaze the cowsheds of 26 houses in Kachiya union of the same upazila. Locals alleged that those were burnt to create panic in the area.Police arrested Abdul Mannan, 50, a local, in connection with his alleged involvement in the incident.
Moshiur Rahaman, deputy assistant director of Rab-8, said they took necessary steps to find out those responsible for vandalism and fire.Meanwhile, Noakhali police arrested Harunur Rashid, general secretary of Rajganj union unit of BNP, yesterday evening in connection with his alleged involvement in looting and vandalising six temples and eight houses of the Hindu community in the union on February 28.Mahbubur Rashid, acting superintendent of police of the district, confirmed the arrest of Harunur, also chairman of the union parishad.
In a press statement, Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a US-based non-partisan advocacy group, yesterday strongly condemned the recent spate of violence especially on minorities and their places of worship across the country reports the daily Star, 7 March 13.

 

The BNP has called a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal today in protest against what it said attacks by armed ruling party men and police brutality.Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men last night vandalised and torched at least 40 vehicles across the country.Hartal supporters also attempted to set fire to a train heading for Mymensingh at Gafargaon Rail Station late last night. Hartal supporters attacked police in Santhia Bazar area in Pabna, leaving at least four policemen injured, including two sub-inspectors.In the capital, hartal supporters torched at least four vehicles, including a car, and vandalised 10 buses.

 

The present government is capable of thwarting any bid to start a civil war to change the country’s political system, LGRD Minister  and General Secretary Awami League Syed Ashraful Islam said Wednesday.

He said the government acted with great restraint during the recent mayhem unleashed by the Jamaat-e-Islami to avoid too many casualties. “But taking that as our weakness will be a mistake.”
Islam said there was a concerted effort to discredit the Awami League by instigating the party’s rank and file to hit the streets to fight it out. “They want to provoke us into a civil war and we must avoid that trap … but we are not weak.”
“No matter how much they provoke for a civil war, the Awami League will not let anyone break the democratic system and replace it with another 1/11-type set-up,” the minister said. On Jan 11 2007, a military-backed caretaker administration had taken charge and stayed in office for nearly two years, way beyond its constitutional limits.The press conference was organised at Awami League president Sheikh Hasina’s Dhanmondi office to clarify the party’s line in the wake of the violence unleashed by the Jamaat-e-Islami after its leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death by the first war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh for crimes, including rape and murder, during the nation’s nine-month-long War of Independence in 1971.

 

The different socio-cultural organisation formed a human chain at Dhaka Jatiya Press Club  on March 6 to protest what they called ‘heinous attacks’ by Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir on the country’s minority communities Jamaat-Shibir attacks on Hindu community and their temples

 

 

A  Situation Note from HRCBM-Dhaka, March 8, 2013

(Digest From the Press)

Temples still under attack

HC asks govt to arrest culprits

Fanatics destroyed an idol of goddess Kali before setting a Hindu temple on fire at Hatibandha upazila of Lalmonirhat in the early hours yesterday,reports the daily star.The 15-year-old Sree Sree Kali Mandir at Bejgram village, 2 kilometres off the Indian border, was burnt down when villagers were asleep, locals said.Hearing the crackling of flames around 4:30 am, villagers rushed to the temple and doused the fire after an hour-long effort, reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent.Incidents of vandalism and arson attacks on temples and houses of theHindus have been rampant since February 28.On that day, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for his crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.
Since then, miscreants destroyed at least 22 temples, 122 houses and dozens of shops belonging to the Hindus across the country.They also physically assaulted men, women and children of the community and set their houses ablaze after looting.HC DIRECTIVEThe High Court yesterday ordered the government to arrest culprits, who vandalisedand torched a temple in Munshiganj, in three days to put them on trial.According to a news report of the daily Janakantha published on Tuesday, miscreants vandalised and torched the Monipara Kali Mandir atGoalimandra village of Louhajang upazila during hartal hours on Monday.Following the report, the HC yesterday directed the authorities concerned to repair the temple, restore it to its previous situation and protect people of theminority community in the area.The court also ordered the authorities concerned to submit a report to it within seven days after complying with the directives, reports our Supreme Court correspondent.The HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Mahmudul Hoque also issued a suo moto rule asking the authorities concerned to explain in 10 days why appropriate legal action should not be taken against the culprits.
Home secretary, deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Munshiganj, upazila nirbahi officer of Louhajang upazila and officer-in-charge of Louhajang Police Station have been made respondents to the rule, Assistant Attorney General Mia Shirajul Islam told The Daily Star.http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/temples-still-under-attack/

Protect Bangladeshi Hindus, says Amnesty

Amnesty International has made an urgent appeal to the Bangladesh government to provide its minority better protection.

“The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty’s Researcher.

Survivors told Amnesty that the attackers were from the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.

In the report, ‘Bangladesh: Wave of Violent Attacks Against Hindu Minority’, Amnesty gave the country’s war crimes trial as the context to the violence against the minority. The report said attacks on Hindus and other minorities were often reported from Bangladesh, especially from the far-flung areas. The latest attack took place on March 6 at Daudkandi in Comilla, where a Hindu temple was vandalised and burnt down. It said on Feb 28 a minority village of Rajganj Bazar in Noakhali was set on fire by the Jamaat supporters. According to Amnesty, Bangladesh’s Hindu minority constitutes only eight per cent of the population and has historically been at risk of violence. They suffered heavily during the 1971 liberation war and again after the 2001 parliamentary elections, when BNP-Jamaat coalition came to power.The rights body urged all political parties to condemn such violence against the Hindu community

Attacks on Hindus protested

Demonstrations were held across the country yesterday protesting the attacks on Hindu communities and temples since the International Crimes Tribunal-1 sentenced Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee to death on February 28.
Jahangirnagar University (JU) students and teachers formed a human chain and brought out a procession on the campus protesting the attacks.
Speakers at the human chain, under the banner “Sanatan Biddarthi Sangsad”, before the JU Shaheed Minar stated that Jamaat-e-Islami and pro-Jamaat student organisation Islami Chhatra Shibir carried out the attacks following the verdict.
They demanded tougher legal steps against the attackers, a ban on Jamaat-Shibir for attacking Hindus and vandalizing and looting their residences and temples, and rehabilitation and security for the affected people and places of worship.
JU Vice-Chancellor Prof Anwar Hossain, JU Teachers’ Association President Ajit Kumar Majumder, Jahangirnagar Sangskritik Jote, JU Chhatra Union and JU Chhatra Front also expressed solidarity with the demands.
Bangladesh Janmastami Udjapan Parishad, a platform of the Hindu community, organised a press conference in Chittagong Press Club protesting the attacks. Over 500 households, 300 temples and 300 shops and businesses of minority communities were vandalised, looted and torched since the verdict, claimed the parishad President Debashish Talukder.
The parishad also placed the aforementioned demands.
Over 100 Rajshahi University teachers and students under the banner “Biswabiddaloy Kendrio Puja Udjapon Parishad” formed a human chain before the RU senate bhaban protesting the attacks. The speakers demanded that the government ban Jamaat-Shibir and all religion based political parties.The parishad President Mrinal Kanti, Progressive Teachers’ Society Convener Prof Anand Kumar Saha, Proctor Chowdhury Mohammad Zakaria and Sultan-Ul-Islam of RU Teachers’ Association addressed the programme.

Noakhali correspondent,  bdnews24.com  : Communication Minister Obaidul Quader has urged leaders and activists of the Awami League to stand by the Hindus recently persecuted by Jamaat-e-Islami supporters.Also an Awami League Presidium Member, he was distributing relief goods on Thursday among the Hindus in Noakhali’s Rajganj, one of the sites that bore the brunt of the recent nationwide communal violence by Jamaat after its number two Delwar Hossain Sayedee was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death on Feb 28.
“There will be no compromise with those who attacked the religious minorities. They will have to be punished for their acts. The government has zero tolerance on this matter.”
The Noakhali-5 MP urged law enforcers and leaders and activists of Awami League to ensure security for religious minorities with the assistance of local community.Quader gave out cash, clothes and books among students from 67 families in Rajganj from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Govt urges to resist terrorism, violence  

The government today given necessary directives to local administration in cooperation with local elites, public representatives and social organization for making united resistance against terrorism and violence, an official release said here tonight.The government is giving special priority for creating awareness and cooperation maintaining peace and stability in the public life, it said.Terrorism and violence have been created by the direct patronization of different parties and groups in different places across the country in the recent times, it said adding that the opposition BNP is trying to create public sufferings by calling hartal.The release said their (BNP’s) ill efforts went in vain as people have no support in their programmes and the countrywide public life was normal.
Unruly Jammat-Shibir hartal activists conducted destructive activities on religious minority groups at a number of places across the country, it observed. The government has given necessary directives to bring the culprit to justice for upholding the tradition of communal harmony in the country. (BSS)

 

Govt won’t tolerate any more opposition’s destructive activities-PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the opposition leader to shun destructive politics as she issued a strong warning that the government won’t tolerate any more their destructive activities to save war criminals.
“We don’t believe in conflict and we also don’t want conflict. But it is our responsibility to protect the life and property of the people. The opposition would attack the law enforcement agencies and slaughter our party men and we would see it sitting in the houses, we are not that much of weak,” she said.
While addressing a discussion on the historic March 7, Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said where the opposition would go if the people, who have become the victims of killing, anarchy and other destructive activities of the opposition, take revenge against them in the same way. The Prime Minister also urged the countrymen to forge a unity like 1971 to resist the new rajakars (collaborators) to save the life and property of the people.”You have liberated the country in 1971 by forging a unity under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And time has come again to face the new collaborators like BNP who has extended their hands to anti- liberation forces to save war criminals,” she said.

‘Minorities at receiving end in Bangladesh violence’

Thursday Mar 07, 2013

New Delhi, March 7 — Hundreds of Hindus have been attacked, their shops and businesses burnt and women threatened by the Jamaat-e-Islami in the current spate of violence unleashed by the Islamists in neighbouring Bangladesh, said speakers at a talk here Thursday.

“Hindus, who number more than one crore in Bangladesh, live in fear and agony… They don’t have anyone to help them,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay at a discussion on ‘Bangla Desh-Shahbagh Rising, Jamaat-e-Islami’s violence and the Indian response’.The protests at Shahbag transcend religion, he said.

“They are an assertion that we are all Bengali Bangladesh is a friendly country, and Sheikh Hasina (prime minister) is a friend (of India).. But it is horrendous and unacceptable that thousands of Hindu homes are being burnt, looted and police are unable to provide protection,” said Vijay.

“The Jamaat is acting on behalf of Pakistan and the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) and against India,” he alleged.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra, who accompanied President Pranab Muherjee on his Dhaka trip, said the situation in Bangladesh “is pretty tense”.

Mitra said that “Hindu minorities are at the receiving end in Bangladesh” in the current clashes.

The violence against minorities is “aimed at driving out the Hindus who are concentrated in a few districts where the Jamaat is also concentrated.. The exodus of Hindus to India is continuing,” said Mitra.The Jamaat is protesting the death sentence handed over to a leader for war crimes committed in 1971.

Mitra said India has “certain moral responsibilities as they have to be mindful of their security.. And if another exodus takes place (like during the 1971 war), we will have to provide shelter,” he said, adding that the Jamaat is like the Taliban in nature. “It has risen from strength to strength and consolidated its position.”He said the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) would earlier maintain a distance from the Jamaat and had good relations with India. “But today, they have linked themselves to the Jamaat.”

BJP leader and former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh said the Shahbag protests “were a movement of truth and identity”.”Bengali is the dominant cultureBangladesh is wedded to language,” said Singh.

He said when Mohamed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had gone to then East Pakistan in 1948 and spoke of making Urdu the national language, there “there were loud protests”.

“Language and culture is important to the people of Bangladesh.. and India shares that important linkage with Bangladesh, which needs to be nurtured and preserved,” he said.The Shahbag protests are a manifestation of the “spirit of the Bengali youth” and transcend religion, he said. (Original article © IANS / Daily News 2013 )

http://india.nydailynews.com/politicsarticle/a65c8ffcc10cbd632690965877749498/minorities-at-receiving-end-in-bangladesh-violence

 The Economist, March 9,says: “Jamaat has been behaving more like an insurgency than a political party. Thugs have used children as human shields, attacked Hindu homes and temples and hacked policemen to death. In Jhenidah, in the south-west, they gouged out the eyes of a policeman they had murdered. Near Chittagong in the east they failed in an attempt to burn 19 policemen alive, but killed one with a pick through the neck.

The violence saps hope that a public act of vengeance against Jamaat, delivered through a broken justice system, might inspire some sort of catharsis for the country. Rumours spread on Facebook of a sighting of Mr Sayeedi’s face on the moon. Some saw this as a sign of his innocence and it mobilised pious supporters very different from the thuggish core of Shibir.”

And added “This seems within the judges’ rights under the tribunal’s rules. But it heightens the impression of a rush to complete the proceedings before an election due at the end of the year. Politically, the most significant effect of Jamaat’s violent fight for survival has been the BNP’s decision to tie its fate to that of its Islamist ally. It is now clear that if in power, the BNP would scrap the trials. Its leader, Khaleda Zia, called the killing of Jamaat supporters “genocide”, a term usually reserved in Bangladesh for the killings by Pakistani troops which Mrs Zia’s allies are accused of having abetted. So the secularism that is well embedded in this moderate, majority-Muslim country may be under threat if the BNP returns to power. India will hope it does not. It was antagonised when Mrs Zia, apparently to respect a protest strike, cancelled a meeting with Pranab Mukherjee, its president, on a visit to Dhaka from March 3rd-5th.”

Case 1: Louhajang, Munshiganj

Type of Violation: Right to Freedom of Religion, Right to own/retain property

Type of Act: Set fire on Hindu Deities in a temple

Description:

On the last 03 March 2013 at 09:45 P.M some unknown perpetrators attacked a Hindu temple and burnt statues of Hindu deities. Only the statues were burnt, not the whole temple. The president of the managing committee of the temple, Mr. Anil Chandra Das, claimed a damage of more than BDT 5000.00

The victim is Mr. Anil Chandra Das and other more than 100 dedicated worshipers of the temple in that locality. The victims all are followers of Hinduism. . Mr. Anil Chandra Das, on behalf of all the devotees of the temple, filed a case on the following day.

The incident took place at Goalimandra village at Louhajang upazilla in Munshiganj district. It is Maniparha Panchayet Raksha Kali Temple in that village.

A team of BDMW lead by its president Adv. Rabindra Ghosh visited the spot. A social activist Ms. Anita Paul accompanied him. The team talked with the victims, took their statements. Some of the pictures are attached with this file. Mr. Ghosh also visited the police station and took statement from the Officer-in-Charge, took photo of the perpetrators. Mr. Ghosh also communicated with the Superintendent of Police of Munshiganj before investigation.

 

Case 2: Sirajdikhan, Munshiganj

Type of Violation: Right to Freedom of Religion, Right to own/retain property

Type of Act: Vandalising Hindu Deity in a temple

Description:

On 05/03/2013 Mr. Mantu Chandra Mandal (60) started worshiping Goddess Kali at his family temple and ended at 06/03/2013 early morning. It was scheduled that the Bisarjan (offering/throwing at water) of Pratima (statue) of Goddess Kali would be on 08/03/2013 before noon. But on the 07/03/2013 night at about 10:00PM they found that some unknown people had broken the Pratimas. The head and left hands of pratima of Goddess Kali, head of pratima of Lord Mahadeva, head of pratima of Nagini, chest of pratima of Yogini were broken by the perpetrators.

The incident took place at Shasangaon village at Sirajdikhan upazilla in Munshiganj district. On 07 March 2013 sometime before 10:00PM the pratimas were vandalised.

Mr. Mantu Chandra Mandal on behalf of the victims, as the police suggested them, filed a case to the Sirajdikhan police station in Munshiganj whose case number is 10 dated 08/03/2013. Perpetrators were unidentified. No perpetrator has been arrested within the month. A team of BDMW lead by its president Adv. RabindraGhosh visited the spot. Another social activist Ms. Anita Paul accompanied him. The team talked with the victims, took their statements. Mr.Ghosh also communicated with the Superintendent of Police of Munshiganj before investigation. During investigation one Sub Inspector of Police was present, but the said S.I. informed that it is not possible on his part to arrest the perpetrators if the informant does not disclose the names of the perpetrators.

The vandalise statue. Photo-BDMW

 The charred remains of a house burnt by Jamaat-Shibir men in Noakhali yesterday. Photo: Banglar Chokh

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hindus under attack

6 temples, houses burnt outside Dhaka

Lashing a déjà vu of 1971, Jamaat-Shibir fanatics yesterday wrecked havoc on the Hindu community across the country.

They damaged at least six temples, including one of Buddhists, and torched houses and business establishments of Hindu people in Noakhali, Gaibandha, Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet, Chapainawabganj and elsewhere in the country.

In Rajganj of Noakhali, Jamaat-Shibir men set ablaze a temple and eight houses of the Hindu community.

They also traded bullets with law enforcers in Datterhat under Sadar Police Station and in Rajganj under Begumganj Police Station, leaving two people killed. The deceased were identified as Khokon, 17, a pickup van assistant, and Liton (28), a fish monger, reports our Noakhali correspondent.

The Jamaat-Shibir men also looted a jewellery shop owned by one Biplob Sarkar at Chandraganj Purbo Bazar in Begumganj.

Witnesses and police said hours after top Jamaat leaders Delawar Hossain Sayedee had been sentenced to death, the marauding activists equipped with firearms, iron rods and kerosene set fire to Harishiva temple in Rajganj market area at 3:30pm.

“They returned an hour later. This time we were left with no choice but to flee the area, as they started torching our houses with kerosene,” schoolteacher Shankar Chandra, who lost his house in the attack, told The Daily Star over the phone.

Some 50 Hindu people used to live in the houses burnt down, he said, adding that all but a few people had managed to escape to safety. Those left behind had been beaten up and kicked out of their houses by the Jamaat-Shibir attackers.

“We ran for our lives leaving everything behind. I was only seven during the Liberation War in 1971, but it didn’t feel this insecure even then,” said Shankar Chandra.

Assistant Police Superintendent (ASP) of Begumganj circle Mahbub Alam told The Daily Star that informed of the arson, police and firefighters had reached Rajganj around 5:00pm. Police had a hard time containing the violence in the area, as Jamaat-Shibir men had outnumbered the law enforcers.

CHITTAGONG
Jamaat-Shibir men attacked two Hindu-majority localities at Jaldi union of Banshkhali upazila and set ablaze a Buddhist temple at Satkania upazila of the district on 28 February.

They set fire to houses at Dhopapara and Mohajonpara of the union and attacked people with sticks, iron rods and sharp weapons, said Inspector Md Shahjahan of Banshkhali Police Station.

Two people had been critically wounded in the attack, said the inspector, adding that the injured had been undergoing treatment at upazila health complex.

Jamaat-Shibir men also set ablaze three shops belonging to Hindu people at Kaliaish union of Satkania upazila, said Additional Superintendent (South) Md Iltutmish of Chittagong Metropolitan Police.

GAIBANDHA
Rioters of Jamaat-e-Islami and student body Islamic Chhatra Shibir attacked a temple and business establishments belonging to Hindus at Bhelkobazar in Sundarganj upazila of the district yesterday afternoon.

Later in the evening, they swooped on and vandalised some houses in Shovaganj union.

Meanwhile, Hindu community leaders last night told The Daily Star that vandalism, arson and looting took place in temples, houses and business establishments of Hindu people in Sylhet, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Laxmipur and Chapainawabganj.

According to them, attackers had vandalised the central Kali temple at Mithapukur upazila in Rangpur and another at Kansat in Chapainawabganj.

“We are observing the situation. So far we have heard they had attacked and vandalised temples, houses and business establishments of Hindu people at least in 10 districts,” said Nirmal Chatterjee, secretary general of Dhaka Mahanagar Puja Committee.

“We have informed law enforcers of the situation and sought security to the Hindu community,” he added. (Source: The Daily Star)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jamaat’s Attacks on Minority Communities

1) The ruins of the Hindu neighbourhood of Dhopapara in Banshkhali, Chittagong after the belligerent activists and supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir torched all houses and a temple there on Thursday. 2) A man offering prayers in the burnt down temple of Dhopapara. 3) A man trying to salvage whatever he can in the wreckage of Banshkhali Upazila Parishad, which also came under the Jamaat-Shibir arson attack on Thursday. 4) A shattered idol of a Hindu goddess in a temple at Dumuria in Morelganj upazila, Bagerhat following an attack of zealots early yesterday. 5) The remains of an early Friday attack on the Pinglakathi Hindu temple in Gournadi, Barisal. 6) Two Hindu girls in sullen silence look through their damaged books on the ruins of their house in Rajganj union of Noakhali’s Begumganj upazila where religious fanatics ravaged through several Hindu neighbourhoods on Thursday. 7) Another destroyed Hindu neighbourhood in the union. 8) An elderly woman has a vacant look on her face and tears roll down her cheeks after her home was destroyed by the fanatics in Rajganj. Photo: Star, Focus Bangla (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Protect minorities

HC asks govt as fresh attacks on Hindus in Dinajpur, Barisal

The High Court yesterday directed the government to protect until further orders the minority communities and places of worships attacked allegedly by activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP in Noakhali on Thursday.

In a suo moto rule, the authorities concerned were also asked to repair the houses and places of worships and to bring those back to their previous condition. A report on the compliance of the directives has to be submitted in the court in 10 days, the HC said.

The court passed the rule on the government following a report published in The Daily Star on March 2 with the headline “Attacks on Noakhali Hindus: Victims feel insecure.”

The HC directives came in tandem with fresh attacks on minority establishments reported from Munshiganj, Dinajpur and Barisal yesterday.

Soon after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 passed a verdict against Jamaat-e-Islami Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee for war crimes on Thursday, leaders and activists of Jamaat, its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir and local BNP men launched attacks on the Hindus in Noakhali, according to the March 2 report.

The opposition party men torched, vandalised and looted at least one temple and many houses at Begumganj of the district, sending the minorities into a panic, the report says. Jamaat-Shibir men also damaged six temples, torched 36 houses and vandalised 40 other houses after looting those at Alampur and Aladin Nagar villages in Rajganj.

Witnesses said Shibir activists Saddam and Alauddin and BNP activists Khalil and Ibrahim led the attacks.

An HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Mahmudul Hoque yesterday issued another rule upon the government to explain in 10 days why it should not be directed to arrest and prosecute the criminals.

Home secretary, inspector general of police, deputy commissioner (DC) and superintendent of police (SP) of Noakhali, and officer-in-charge (OC) of Begumganj have been made respondents to the rule.

Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder told The Daily Star that he had already informed the DC of Noakhali of the HC order and asked him to take steps.

ATTACKS IN MUNSHIGANJ, BARISAL, DINAJPUR
In the latest development, a temple was set on fire at Louhajang upazila in Munshiganj around 10:00pm yesterday.

Seeing the fire, people in the neighbourhood rushed to the place and doused it. But by that time many idols of Goalimandra Monipara Kali Mandir were damaged, said Anil Chandra Das, president of the temple’s committee.

Local people said they suspected that hartal supporters were behind the incident.

In Barisal, unidentified miscreants tried to torch a Hindu temple at Aliganj Bazaar of Hizla upazila, but were resisted. In another incident, police arrested three people in connection with damaging and torching of idols of Hindu goddesses at Sarbojoneen Durga Mandir in Gournadi upazila of the district.

OC of Gournadi Police Station Abul Kalam Azad said police had raided different areas in the early hours yesterday and arrested Mizan Khalifa, 20, first year student of Dhaka Titumir College, Baharuddin Ahmed 31, a businessman of Dhaka and Aminul Islam, 18, student of Gournadi Kasemabad Madrasa.

“We have sent the arrestees to the court in the afternoon with a seven-day remand prayer for interrogation,” the police officer said.

In Dinajpur, harvests of rice belonged to nine Hindu families were burnt to ashes and at least 50 trees were felled on the Dinajpur-Panchagarh highway at Birganj upazila allegedly by Jamaat-Shibir men.

Fire brigades rushed to the spot and doused the fire, Abdul Kader Zilani, officer-in-charge of Dinajpur Sadar Upazila, confirmed. (Source: The Daily Star)

Monday, March 4, 2013

UK deplores attacks on temples

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Gibson yesterday deplored the cruel and unwarranted attacks on places of worship and private property in Bangladesh.

In a statement, the UK envoy expressed his sadness over the violence and the number of senseless and unnecessary deaths that have taken place across Bangladesh over the past few days.

He called for all parties to exercise restraint and resolve their differences through constructive and peaceful dialogue.

“Bangladesh has struggled hard and at great cost to achieve its independence and create a tolerant state where every citizen can live without fear of religious persecution and follow their individual faiths,” Robert Gibson said.

“This great achievement risks being undermined by the callous and unacceptable actions of a few.”

The British envoy noted that while every citizen has the right to mount a peaceful protest, intimidation and imposition of strikes disrupt the lives of all citizens and hamper the operation of legitimate business. “This is sending a negative signal to the international community and those wishing to invest in Bangladesh.”

He further said, “The UK will continue to call for all parties to exercise restraint, moderation and respect for the rule of law; and to resolve their differences through constructive and peaceful dialogue. To continue to subject the country to unnecessary disruption and violence risks undermining Bangladesh’s democratic credentials and stability.” (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Attack on Hindus

Reeling from shock

Afraid to go to school

 

 

The Thakur and Banikya children in front of their destroyed homes at Rajganj of Begumganj in Noakhali. Shell shocked in the Jamaat-Shibir attack, they are now too scared to go out of their homestead let alone to school. Photo: Star

Residents of Begumganj upazila in Noakhali still could not get over the day of terror. All of them are on edge since some religious bigots swooped on a section of people on Thursday just because of their minority status.
The attacks on the Hindus were made here hours after the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee to death on charges of arson, rape, murder and forced conversion during the 1971 Liberation War.
Arnab Chattarjee, a class-three student of Thakur Bari of Rajganj union under Begumganj, wonders as to why his home was vandalised, his books were burnt and his family members beaten.
The entire area looks like a deserted place now. While visiting Rajganj bazar yesterday, this correspondent found almost all the shops on both sides of the streets shut. Hindu families have sent their young female members to safety. Children have stopped going to school fearing that they may be attacked on the way.
“They (attackers) will beat me the way they beat up my father and uncles,” said Arnab. Whenever he sees any stranger he cringes away.
“All my books have been burnt. What will I read now,” said Anni Bhattacharjee, a five-year-old girl of pre-primary class. She was seen crying and trying to bring together the burnt pieces of her books.
Like Arnab and Anni, children of Bhuiyan Bari, Mali Bari, Acharjee Bari, Aldinagar Banikya para, Kuri Bari and Kalirhat of Rajganj are struggling to come out of the trauma they have gone through.
Unidentified criminals damaged at least six temples, torched 36 houses and vandalised 40 others after looting those at Alampur and Aladin Nagar villages in Rajganj on the day.  Many of the seventy-six victim families accused the Jamaat-e-Islami and its ally BNP of the attacks but leaders of the parties’ district units denied the allegation.
The Hindus are now fearing further attacks while the Muslim population of the area are dreading arrests.
“The miscreants attacked my shop on that day (Thursday). Now, I have been keeping my shop closed to avoid further trouble,” said Pintu Kumar Kuri, owner of a jewellary shop at Rajganj bazar.
A restaurant owner Dulal Miah said police had picked up his son on Sunday though he was innocent. Later, police released Dulal’s son in the face of villagers’ demand.
“People fear mass arrest.”
Many families of the minority community are not letting their children and female members step out of their homes while some have sent their children to their relatives.
“My daughter is 16. A day after the violence, I have sent her to Noakhali town for safety,” said Sankar Bikash Majumder.
Meanwhile, some victims have brought corruption allegations over distribution of relief.
Deputy Commissioner Sirajul Islam refuted such claims and said relief materials were being distributed transparently.
“We are distributing relief materials according to the need of the victims — to repair their houses and bring those back to the previous condition.”
The district administration has donated a sack of rice, 5kg of pulses, 5kg of potato for each of the families that came under attack on Thursday and 50 blankets, 160 bundles of tin-sheet and Tk 4.80 lakh for all.
Besides, Ekramul Karim Chowdhury, general secretary and MP of Noakhali-4 constituency, donated Tk 3.80 lakh.
Administrator of Zila Parishad has promised to donate Tk 6 lakh for repairing the six temples and Tk 50,000 for each victim family. Gandhi Asram Trust in Noakhali has bought clothes and cutlery for victim families.
Two cases have been filed in connection with the incident, accusing 71 by name and at least 1,500 others unidentified. As many as 28 were arrested till 6:00pm yesterday, said Syed Mohammad Ahasanul Islam, office-in-charge of Begumganj Police Station.
In a new development yesterday, a Hindu temple was set on fire at Lakhirpar village, Kotalipara of Gopalganj district, said Tota Mia, officer-in-charge of Kotalipara Police Station. (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Attack on Hindus

Khaleda finally condemns it

Stays silent over identity of culprits

 

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia last night condemned Thursday’s attacks on religious minorities at different parts of the country.
In a statement, signed by her Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan, she also demanded punishment to the perpetrators.
She, however, made no mention of BNP ally Jamaat-e-Islami which, according to victims, unleashed terror

against the Hindus, burning down houses and temples, shortly after a war crimes tribunal gave death sentence to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee.
On March 1, the opposition leader categorically blamed the government for the “planned attack aimed to divert people’s democratic movement and destroy the country’s communal harmony”.
Now, four days after the atrocities against minorities, Khaleda demands the government identify and punish the perpetrators through neutral investigation and compensate the victims.
The statement urged the media not to publish anything with prejudice or get confused with propaganda from a certain quarter.
Saying attempts were being made to destroy the existing religious harmony, Khaleda called for restraint.
She also said attacks on minorities were taking place at a time when people were waging movement against the “government’s fascism and indiscriminate killings across the country”.
“I called upon the administration and law enforcers to prevent such attacks on minorities with an iron fist,” said Khaleda, also the leader of the opposition in the House. (Source: The Daily Star)

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Jamaat continues attacking Hindus

 

Jamaat-Shibir attacks on Hindu community and their temples continued in different parts of the country yesterday creating widespread fear among general people living unprotected in rural areas.
Reports of arson, vandalism and physical assaults on members of Hindu community and also on Awami League activists have been rampant since Thursday, when the International Crimes Tribunal-1 had awarded death penalty to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee.
Khulna

Yesterday in Khulna, more than 300 Jamaat-Shibir and BNP acitivists brought out a procession from Chad Ali Bridge in Amadi Bazar area of Koyra upazila around 10:30am, during the BNP-called hartal.
Locals said the focus of the procession suddenly turned to Dhopapara, an extremely poor locality with predominantly Hindu population traditionally making a living on washing clothes. Within minutes, eight houses belonging to Hindus were set ablaze. While the Hindu men, women and children ran for safety, the attackers looted whatever they could put their hands on.
The attackers soon swooped on to nearby Amadi Bazar. They broke into eight to 10 shops belonging to local Hindus and looted them before being dispersed by Border Guard Bangladesh and police personnel around noon.
Meanwhile, the attack left a woman and a young man injured. They were admitted to the local health complex.
Amiya and Apurbo Das, who lost their home in the attack, said neighbours had tried to douse the fire but their thatched house stood no chance. Others who lost their houses to the arson include Subodh Das, Kartik Das and Sona Das. Each of the victim families had more than one thatched house. The attackers also torched a prayer room set up inside a house.
“We do not know what to do and are living in fear of further attacks,” said Apurbo Das. Locals said the attackers also unleashed violent assaults on several residents.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) Khairul Kabir of Koyra Police Station said they had arrested two Shibir activists from the area. “Two to three houses were torched and looted and about eight shops were looted during the attack,” said the OC.
Superintendent Golum Rouf Khan of Khulna police said BNP and Jamaat-Shibir men had set fire to thatched houses and a semi-concrete structure, and vandalised shops belonging to local Hindus.
The ploy in which attacks on Hindu temples and idols were executed, bear striking similarity in most cases throughout the country.

Lalmonirhar

At Rotherpar village in Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat, religious fanatics entered the Sree Sree Shoshan Kali Mandir [temple] some time early hours yesterday and vandalised the temple smashing the idol of goddess Kali.
President of the temple committee Subhas Chandra Roy said they had lodged a written complaint with the police and it was now up to the law enforcers to take action.

Gopalganj

At Lakhirpar village under Kotalipara upazila in Gopalganj, zealots set fire to a temple of goddess Kali on Monday around 7:45pm. The fire partially gutted the temple and destroyed four idols of the goddess. The arson instantly drew protests in the area.
Kotalipara police detained five suspects in this connection.

Natore

In Natore, Jamaat-Shibir men are strengthening themselves in the border areas of Lalpur upazila where Awami League activists and members of the Hindu community are living in fear.
On Monday evening, Jamaat-Shibir men in a bid to spread further panic set fire to a temple of Shoair village under Singra upazila and destroyed the Hori Protima [the idol of Lord Hori].
Isahaq Ali, secretary of Lalpur upazila unit Awami League, said Jamaat-Shibir men were capitalising on the innocence of the villagers through anti-minority propaganda.
“The situation is such that we cannot even go to the border areas of Char Jazira, Horir Char and Gorgoria where on the one hand, gangs of Jaamat-Shibir rule and on the other, outlaws roam around at large,” said Isahaq Ali.

 

Chittagong
In Chittagong, Hindu temple Sarbajaneen Magadeshwari Mandir at East Rupkania of Satkania upazila was torched early yesterday. Sukumar Nath, a local resident, said the arson took place around 2:30am.
“We woke up by the sound bamboos cracking in fire and witnessed our holy temple burn to ashes,” said Nath, adding, “We do not know who did it.”
Sub-Inspector Nazmul Alam of Satkania Police Station said the pattern of all the arson attacks leads police to suspect that Jamaat-Shibir fanatics had been involved in the act.

 

Since Thursday, Jamaat-Shibir men had wrecked havoc in the area, mainly targeting the Hindu community.
The fanatics have changed their tactics for attacks on the state mechanisms. In Jhenidah, Lalmonirhat, Satkhira and elsewhere they shielded their attack force by luring rural women and children in the front line of the processions with religious propaganda.

Barisal

In Uzirpur upazila of Barisal district, miscreants tried to set fire to Guthia Sarbajaneen Kali Mandir [temple] under Guthia union early yesterday.
President of the temple committee Sudhir Malakar said some miscreants had thrown burning torches of straw and tree branches inside the temple and fled the scene.
The fire died automatically as the branches and straw were not so dry but yet it partially damaged the fences said Sudhir, adding that they had informed the local upazila parishad chairman of the incident.
Officer-in-Charge Anwar Hossain of Uzirpur Police Station said a general diary had been lodged with them and that they had visited the spot and started investigating the arson attempt. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Attacks on 3 more temples

 

 

Having lost everything, Nipu Sheel wails sitting on the debris of her house that was set ablaze by Jamaat-Shibir men at Banshkhali in Chittagong. The religious fanatics looted and torched houses and temples of the Hindus in the district on February 28.

Fanatics vandalised idols and torched temples in Comilla, Netrokona and Bhola districts in the dark of Tuesday night, creating widespread panic among the local Hindu community.
In Comilla, miscreants vandalised a Hindu temple and set it ablaze at Chapatali village of Mohammadpur East Union under Daudkandi upazila early yesterday, said Abul Faysal, officer-in-charge of Daudkandi Police Station.
Subhash Bhoumik, a resident of Chapatali, said locals kept vigil around the temple till 2:30am yesterday in the wake of attacks on minority communities across the country, reports a correspondent from Comilla.
“We found the tin-shed temple in the morning totally gutted,” he said, adding “Five idols of gods and goddesses were destroyed.”
In Netrokona, around 120 kilometres northeast of Daudkandi, another Hindu temple came under attack in the same way in the early hours yesterday. Miscreants destroyed five Hindu idols before setting the temple ablaze at Bangla-Dashpara village under Netrokona Sadar upazila, reports our district correspondent.
Police and the local Hindu sources said the temple was situated on a field around half-a-kilometre away from the village.
Around 11:00 pm on Tuesday, locals saw a fire coming out of the temple. The villagers immediately rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control.
Tapan Chandra Talukder, a resident of the village, said they did not know who attacked the temple and when it was set on fire. “The entire community is living in fear.”
Anil Chandra Das, another resident, told this correspondent that none was arrested so far in connection with the incident.
Anis Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Netrokona, and Police Super Mohammad Zakir Hossen visited the spot.
In Bhola, miscreants vandalised the idol of Hindu goddess Kali at a Hindu temple at Pakkhiya union of Borhanuddin upazila early yesterday.
Bhobotosh, a custodian of the temple, told The Daily Star that they witnessed some four to five men moving suspiciously near the temple on Tuesday night.
Chapa Rani, wife of Bhobotosh, found the idol vandalised when she went to the temple to worship in the following morning, reports our Bhola correspondent.
Gouranga Dey, secretary of the district Puja Committee, said, “We have requested the authorities concerned to take necessary action for safety of the minorities.”
On the same night, another group of miscreants set ablaze the cowsheds of 26 houses in Kachiya union of the same upazila. Locals alleged that those were burnt to create panic in the area.
Police arrested Abdul Mannan, 50, a local, in connection with his alleged involvement in the incident.
Moshiur Rahaman, deputy assistant director of Rab-8, said they took necessary steps to find out those responsible for vandalism and fire.
Meanwhile, Noakhali police arrested Harunur Rashid, general secretary of Rajganj union unit of BNP, yesterday evening in connection with his alleged involvement in looting and vandalising six temples and eight houses of the Hindu community in the union on February 28.
Mahbubur Rashid, acting superintendent of police of the district, confirmed the arrest of Harunur, also chairman of the union parishad.
In a press statement, Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a US-based non-partisan advocacy group, yesterday strongly condemned the recent spate of violence especially on minorities and their places of worship across the country. (Source: The Daily Star)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Schoolgirl raped

A schoolgirl was raped by a gang of masked criminals in Sadar upazila on Monday night. The girl belonging to Hindu community is a class seven student at a local high school. Quoting family members, local quack Dinesh Chandro Roy said, a gang swooped on the room of the girl and forcibly picked up her from there while she was studying. Later, they took her to a nearby litchi orchard and violated her. Hearing the hue and cry, locals rushed to the spot and rescued the girl. However, the gang managed to flee the scene. (Source: The Daily Star)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Protect Hindus

Amnesty urges govt

In the wake of a wave of violent attacks on the country’s minority Hindu community, international rights group Amnesty International has urged the government to give them better protection.
Over the past week, activists taking part in strikes called by Islamic parties have vandalised more than 40 Hindu temples across Bangladesh. Scores of shops and houses belonging to the community have been burned down, leaving hundreds of people homeless, said a press release issued by the group on Wednesday.
“The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. “It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need.”
Faiz continued, “All political parties in Bangladesh should condemn any violence against the Hindu community and instruct all their members and supporters not to take part in such attacks.”
The victims told Amnesty International that the attackers were taking part in rallies organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Jamaat, however, has publicly denied any involvement in violence against the Hindu community.
The latest attack took place on Wednesday at Daudkandi in Comilla, where a Hindu temple was vandalised and burnt down.
One of the victims told the rights group that on February 28, his family’s village at Rajganj Bazar in Noakhali was set on fire by people taking part in a Jamaat-staged strike.
“They moved into our properties and set fire to 30 of our houses. Seventy-six families were living in these houses. They also set fire to our temples,” the victim said, requesting anonymity out of concern for his safety.
The authorities have provided temporary accommodation to the affected families, he said. The families had lost almost all their belongings to theft or destruction in the violence.
Another victim said a group of about 100 young men holding banners in support of Jamaat looted and damaged four shops at Satkania in Chittagong and vandalised a Hindu temple in the village on Saturday.
Bangladesh’s Hindu minority makes up eight percent of the population and has historically been at risk of violence from the Muslim population — including during the independence war in 1971 and after the general elections in 2001, said the press release.
“Given the obvious risks the Hindu minority faces in Bangladesh, these attacks were sadly predictable. We urge the authorities to take note of the violence and act to prevent further attacks,” noted Faiz.
Tensions have been running high in Bangladesh in recent weeks as Jamaat and Shibir have called strikes and protested against the international crimes tribunals, which have found some of its senior members guilty of crimes committed during the Liberation War.
Protesters have also been involved in violent clashes with police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets or live ammunition against them. At least 60 people have been killed, mostly by police fire, but among the dead are also several policemen.
“While there are credible reports that police firing may have followed violent attacks against them by protesters, police use of excessive force cannot be discounted,” Faiz said.
BJP DEMAND
In Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament, main opposition BJP yesterday demanded that an all-party delegation be sent to Bangladesh to assess the “atrocities on Hindus” by Jamaat-e-Islami.
Tarun Vijay (BJP) said, “Hindus are subjected to severe atrocities…. They are being killed, forced to take refuge in India and their abandoned properties are seized after being declared wasteful.”
He lauded the Shahbagh movement, saying it was a display of secular democratic forces and the fact that all Hindus, Muslims and Christians were Bangladeshis.
Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP said it was a “violation” of human rights in Bangladesh and demanded a response from the government. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Temples still under attack

HC asks govt to arrest culprits

Fanatics destroyed an idol of goddess Kali before setting a Hindu temple on fire at Hatibandha upazila of Lalmonirhat in the early hours yesterday.
The 15-year-old Sree Sree Kali Mandir at Bejgram village, 2 kilometres off the Indian border, was burnt down when villagers were asleep, locals said.
Hearing the crackling of flames around 4:30 am, villagers rushed to the temple and doused the fire after an hour-long effort, reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent.
Incidents of vandalism and arson attacks on temples and houses of the Hindus have been rampant since February 28.
On that day, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for his crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.
Since then, miscreants destroyed at least 22 temples, 122 houses and dozens of shops belonging to the Hindus across the country.
They also physically assaulted men, women and children of the community and set their houses ablaze after looting.
HC DIRECTIVE
The High Court yesterday ordered the government to arrest culprits, who vandalised and torched a temple in Munshiganj, in three days to put them on trial.
According to a news report of the daily Janakantha published on Tuesday, miscreants vandalised and torched the Monipara Kali Mandir at Goalimandra village of Louhajang upazila during hartal hours on Monday. (Source: The Daily Star)
Following the report, the HC yesterday directed the authorities concerned to repair the temple, restore it to its previous situation and protect people of the minority community in the area.
The court also ordered the authorities concerned to submit a report to it within seven days after complying with the directives, reports our Supreme Court correspondent.
The HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Mahmudul Hoque also issued a suo moto rule asking the authorities concerned to explain in 10 days why appropriate legal action should not be taken against the culprits.
Home secretary, deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Munshiganj, upazila nirbahi officer of Louhajang upazila and officer-in-charge of Louhajang Police Station have been made respondents to the rule, Assistant Attorney General Mia Shirajul Islam told The Daily Star.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

More attacks on temples

 

 

People of the Hindu community demonstrate in front of Chittagong Press Club yesterday against the recent vandalism and torching of Hindu homes and temples across the country. They vowed to resist such attacks in future. Photo: Star

Fanatics vandalised a temple at Munshiganj and set fire to another in Rangpur in the early hours yesterday, creating widespread panic among the local Hindu community.
In Munshiganj, miscreants vandalised five idols at a temple at Shashongaon village of Sirajdikhan upazila on Thursday night.
Locals found the idols, including that of the goddess Kali, totally destroyed when they went to the temple to worship yesterday morning, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.
Md Abul Kashem, upazila nirbahi officer, and Sheikh Mahbubur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Sirajdikhan Police Station, visited the spot.
OC Mahbubur alleged that a gang of miscreants was attacking the temples in the area to create panic among the Hindus.
He assured the local Hindus that the hunt was on to nab the fanatics.
In Rangpur, miscreants destroyed the idol of Sree Radha Govinda before setting the temple on fire at Amashu-Kukrul in Rangpur city in the early hours yesterday.
Goutam Roy, of the Burimata Temple Committee, said some fanatics set the tin-shed temple ablaze around 5:30am, leaving the idol and some holy books burnt.
Hearing the crackling of flames, people rushed to the temple and doused the fire, said Kartik Das, a religious leader of the local Hindus.
Abdur Razzak, superintendent of police of Rangpur, told The Daily Star, “We have sent a police team to the area and started an investigation to find out those responsible for the fire.”
Haradhan Saha, a ward councillor, alleged that miscreants set fire to the temple to destroy communal harmony in the area.
Md Shahabuddin Khalifa, officer-in-charge of Rangpur Kotwali Police Station, said “Dhirendra Nath Roy, president of the temple committee, lodged a case against some unnamed miscreants in connection with the incident.”
Incidents of vandalism and arson attacks on temples and houses of the Hindus have been rampant since February 28.
On that day, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for his crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.
Since then, miscreants destroyed at least 24 temples, 122 houses and dozens of shops belonging to the Hindus across the country.
Meanwhile, Industries Minister Dilip Barua and Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister, visited the burnt-out houses and a temple of Hindus at Rajganj in Noakhali yesterday.
Miscreants set ablaze the temple and eight houses of the Hindu people in Rajganj on February 28.
Barua and Rizvi condemned the attacks on the Hindus and urged people of all religions to unitedly resist the miscreants from committing such mayhem. (Source: The Daily Star)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Editorial from The Daily Star

Continued attack on minorities

Mere condemnation is not enough, action called for

Incidents of violence and vandalism targeting Hindus have continued unabated. These have fallen into an escalating pattern. As many as 15 districts have witnessed attacks on minorities. These included arson and vandalism on their temples and households. In most of the places, the victims are left living under open skies making do with whatever is left of their scorched belongings.
Aside from being an abominable violation of constitutional and human rights, the episode is revolting to any sensibilities of a pluralistic society. It brings to disrepute the image of a country with traditional communal harmony and a rich cultural heritage.
Of course, fanatics and saboteurs wait in the wings to fan communalism on any pretext whatsoever. This is all the more reason why the government should have had a risk perception based on vulnerabilities of a community in certain circumstances. Accordingly, they could have spread a security umbrella around their households and temples. But the home ministry was caught unprepared as they apparently did not plan for a contingency. They couldn’t nip it in the bud and Hindus continued to be targeted.
It is just not enough to condemn the incidents and label the culprits; for it is the obligation of the state to protect its citizens, particularly the minorities. How we treat the minorities is an important measuring rod of civilisational status of a society.
Human rights activists, civil society leaders and different religious bodies have voiced their concerns urging cooperation of the people and the government to stem the tide of violence against minorities. There is thus a national consensus and a level of public sensitisation over the issue of combating communalism.
It is the duty of the government and the citizens to protect the lives, property and places of worship of minorities. Energetic efforts are needed from all concerned to turn the situation around.

 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hindu family’s house burned down in arson attack

The house of a Hindu family in Laksam upazila of Comilla was burned down in an arson attack by unidentified miscreants on Friday night, said police.
However, the three dwellers of the house, belonging to an expatriate, Ratan Chandra Das, escaped unhurt.
Ratan’s wife Milon Rani Das said the fire gutted Tk 1.70 lakh and 20 bhories of gold ornaments alongside furniture and rice.
On information, Laksam police went to the spot and extinguished the fire with the help of locals.
Ratan’s son Niloy Chandra Das, 13, said he was asleep with his mother and brother Hridoy Chandra Das, 10, in their Uttarda village residence when a sound woke him up and he found the house on fire.
He said to have heard the sound of running footsteps while they were rushing out of the house.
Md Shahadat Hossain Majumder, a senior teacher of the village’s Uttarda High School, said the incident was a part of a plot of an evil quarter orchestrating violence against minority communities around the country, including Chittagong and Noakhali.
Officer-in-Charge Md Abul Khair of Laksam Police Station termed the incident “an act of sabotage” and said police were conducting investigations into the incident. (Source: The Daily Star)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Attack on Hindus

Arrest culprits in seven days

HC asks police over Banshkhali rampage

 

 

Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

The High Court yesterday ordered the police to arrest within seven days the culprits who attacked minority people and damaged their houses and temples in Banshkhali upazila of Chittagong on February 28 and March 2.
The court also directed the local administration to repair the houses and temples and bring those back to their previous condition within two months, and ensure protection to the victims until further orders.
Issuing a suo moto rule, it asked the Attorney General’s Office to inform the court by March 14 of what steps the administration had taken after the incidents of attacks and vandalism.
In the rule, the court also asked the government to explain within 10 days why it should not be directed to take appropriate legal action against the culprits.
The bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Mahmudul Hoque came up with the order and the rule following news reports of different newspapers, including The Daily Star, on the attacks and vandalism.
Home secretary, inspector general of police, deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Chittagong, upazila nirbahi officer of Banshkhali and officer-in-charge of Banshkhali Police Station have been made respondents to the rule.
The minority people in Banshkhali came under attack allegedly by Jamaat-e-Islami activists after a war crimes tribunal on February 28 sentenced Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee to death for his crimes against humanity.
Yesterday, Supreme Court lawyers Subrata Chowdhury and Anupam Biswas placed the newspaper reports before the HC bench and prayed to the court to pass necessary orders.
The lawyers said at least four people were killed and several others were injured and temples and houses were damaged by Jamaat-e-Islami men at Banshkhali.
But the administration did not arrest anybody and take any effective measure in connection with the incident, they added. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shops of Hindus set on fire, theft at temple

Unidentified criminals set three shops belonging to Hindus on fire at Bangla Bazar in Baralekha upazila of the district on Friday night.
Two nearby temples were spared as the fire fighting units brought the blaze under control in an hour of frantic efforts.
Protesting the incident, locals put up a road barricade  in the morning.
On information, local lawmaker Shahab Uddin, upazila chairman and upazila nirbahi officer visited the spot.
Officer in-charge (OC) of Baralekha police station Kamrul Hasan said that a primary investigation found that the shops were set on fire likely with the help of  petrol.
Chairman Sunam Uddin Sunai of local union parishad and the owners of the damaged shops alleged that the attack was a part of Jamaat-Shibir campaign against the Hindus across the country.
Upazila Jamaat chief Azir Uddin Master however refuted the allegation.
In Jhenidah, ornaments, utensils and other valuables were stolen from the Kali Mandir (a Hindu temple) at Mahishakundu Swashan (crematory) in Sadar upazila yesterday morning, reports our correspondent.
Temple maintenance committee secretary Ashok Kumar Dey said, a gang broke the lock of iron gate of the temple the in early hours yesterday.
They stole gold ornaments from the statue of the Goddess Kali and took away valuable utensils and lamps worth Tk one lakh, he said.
The committee filed a general diary with the local police station in this connection. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Idol damaged, protesters form human chain

Criminals damaged an idol at a ‘Kali Temple’ at Achim Bazar of Phulbaria upazila early yesterday.
The damaged idol was of Goddess Swarasati, police said.
Anwar Hossain Bhuiyan, officer in-charge of Phulbaria police station, said hoodlums entered the temple early yesterday and broke the Swarasati idol into pieces. However, the other idols remained intact, said the OC.
On information, police visited the spot in the morning and talked to the local leaders of Hindu community and public representatives.
A case was lodged with Phulbaria police station but none was arrested till filing of this report yesterday afternoon.

Bogra
In Bogra, a human chain was formed by Hindus in Shantahar railway station area under Adamdighi upazila yesterday morning, reports our correspondent.
The participants protested the attack by Jamaat-Shibir men on houses, business centers, temples and vandalism and arson across the country.
Under the banner of Shantahar Puja Udjapon Parishad, the human chain was joined by people from all walks of life, enchanting “Dharmo Jar Jar, Desh Sobar” (Region is yours but the country belongs to all) slogan. President of the parishad Shibesh Kumar Idul presided the programme. Organiser of liberation war Kochim Uddin Ahmad, former chairman of Shantahar municipality and freedom fighter Golam Morshed, FF Ajmal Hossen and noted businessman Raj Kumar Shaha and others were present at the human chain. (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Attacks on Hindus

Govt to rehabilitate victims

The government will rehabilitate the victims of religious minorities whose houses and temples were attacked by fanatics around two weeks ago.
“A decision has been taken to rehabilitate them. It’s our moral responsibility to stand beside them,” Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury told The Daily Star yesterday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already sent some supports to many of the areas attacked by Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir men, officials said.
The government will first assess the losses and act accordingly. But when the rehabilitation work will start officially is not clear.
Officials said the offices of the deputy commissioners (DC) from Chittagong, Noakhali, Comilla, Cox’s Bazar, Rajshahi, Bagerhat, and Bogra had started gathering information.
“We are collecting information from various sources and preparing a detailed report on the financial losses,” said Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Shaikh Md Wahid-uz-Zaman. The losses could exceed Tk 200 crore or even Tk 500 crore, he said.
“The government will take all-out measurers to rehabilitate the religious minorities.”
Some ministers will visit the most affected areas to gather first hand information about the casualties.
The agriculture minister will lead a team to Bogra on March 20 and Environment and Forests Minister Hasan Mahmud will visit Chittagong.
Meanwhile, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader has visited Noakhali and arranged rehabilitation in some affected areas and distributed money personally. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Attack on Noakhali Hindus

Identify perpetrators

Nagorik Protinidhi Dal urges govt

Members of Nagorik Protinidhi Dal, a citizen’s group, yesterday urged the government to form a judicial probe body to identify the real perpetrators who led the February 28 attack on Begumganj’s Hindu community in Noakhali.
Though the local Jamaat-Shibir activists carried out the attack, some so-called allied intellectuals gave them directions from Dhaka, they told a press conference the dal organised in the capital’s Liberation War Museum after visiting the attacked area.
Associate Prof Robayet Ferdous of Dhaka University said the government was informed about the instigators and should arrest them immediately to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
Gono Oikya Convener Pankaj Bhattacharjee alleged that the government and local leaders of the ruling Awami League failed to prevent the attack.
He said the local administration failed to take any initiative when the Jamaat-Shibir activists, through a religious gathering under a banner of “Islami Samaj Kalyan Parishad” a few days ago, instigated local people to carry out the attack.
Assistant Prof Rajib Mir of Jagannath University said the miscreants’ main objective was to create panic and drive the Hindu community away so that they could occupy their assets.
Stating that the government should ban parties which are spoiling social harmony, the dal also urged the government to reestablish communal harmony and ensure proper assistance to the victims.
Workers’ Party of Bangladesh leader Bimal Biswas and Sammilito Samajik Andolon President Ajoy Ray also spoke on the occasion. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Two more temples vandalised

2 Hindu houses set on fire

Unidentified criminals destroyed around 30 idols in two temples in Jhenidah and Gopalganj district on Monday.

Jhenidah
In Jhenidah, vandals broke into the temple at Angita cremation ground in Kaliganj upazila and wrecked 23 Shib idols around midnight, reported our correspondent in the district.
Badal Thakur, president of the temple committee, has demanded exemplary punishment to those involved in the hate crime.
Liakat Hossain, officer-in-charge of Kaliganj Police Station, said they would look into the matter.
Upazila Chairman Anwarul Azim Anar said a thorough investigation would be launched to bring the criminals to book.
AL lawmaker Abdul Mannan, Deputy Commissioner Khaja Hannan, Jhenidah Superintendent of Police Altaf Hossain and Upazila Vice Chairman Tithi Rani Biswas, among others, visited the spot.

Gopalganj
In Gopalganj, six idols were destroyed at Kafilabari Durga temple in the district’s Kotalipara upazila the same night, reported a correspondent.
Sources said a devotee, Aloka Madhu, discovered the broken idols when she went to offer prayers around 10:00am.
Khokon Bala, chairman of Ramshil union parishad of Kotalipara, said the temple was vandalised by criminals.
Officer-in-Charge of Kotalipara Police Station Tuta Mia confirmed the incident.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Kotalipara Md Mikail said, “We are investigating the matter.”
Earlier, six people including a Jamaat leader were arrested on charges of torching a temple in Lakhirpar area of Kotalipara on March 3.
Meanwhile in Barisal city, two houses of Hindus on New Vatikhana Road were set ablaze by unknown criminals around 2:45am yesterday.
The flames were doused by locals before they could wreak any major damage.
A bottle of kerosene was recovered from the spot, but no complaints were lodged with the police, said Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of Kawnia Police Station.
Touhidul Islam Badsha, councillor of ward-4, and Ashok Sarkar, owners of the houses, said the vandals used sacks, saw-dust and kerosene to set fire. (Source: The Daily Star)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Attack on Tangail Hindus

HC orders arrest of culprits

 

 

High Court. Star file photo.

The High Court yesterday directed police to arrest in one week culprits who allegedly attacked and tortured Hindus in a village of Gopalpur municipality in Tangail and ordered the government to protect the victims.
The HC bench passed the order after hearing a petition based on a March 12 news report of Bangla daily Sangbad.
The report stated that a gang of extortionists led by four individuals named Faruk, Latif, Monir and Sharif allegedly attacked and beat Hindus of the Chandabari village and vandalised their houses on March 9 for refusing to pay Tk 50,000.
After the gang threatened to drive them away, 13 Hindu families took shelter in Gopalpur Police Station and filed a case the same day but police could not arrest anyone, says the report.
The HC also issued a rule asking the government to explain in two weeks why the culprits should not be prosecuted under the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Penal Code of Bangladesh.
The home secretary, inspector general of police, Tangail’s superintendent of police, and officer-in-charge of Gopalpur Police Station were made respondents to the rule.
Bangladesh Minority Watch President Advocate Rabindra Ghosh filed the petition. (Source: The Daily Star)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Idols damaged in Natore, Tangail

Unidentified criminals damaged five idols at a temple at Dwipakunia village in Singra upazila of Natore yesterday.
Locals said the devotees found five idols vandalised at ‘Hori Thakur Temple’ of the village at about 6:00am when they went there to perform puja and informed police, reports our correspondent.
Officer in-charge Fayezur Rahman of Singara police station said, legal steps would be taken against the culprits.
He suspected that a gang entered into the temple after mid-night and damaged the idols.
A case was filed by the caretaker of the temple.
In Tangail, a Swaraswati idol at a temple at Solonka Daspara village in Kalihati upazila was damaged by unidentified criminals on Tuesday night, reports our correspondent.
The family members of Jibon Chandra Das found the idol damaged after going to the temple in the morning.
Being informed, a police team along with Anwar Hossain Mollah, vice-chairman of Kalihati upazila parishad and Romendra Nath Bishnu, president of upazila unit Hindu Bouddho Christian Oikyo Parishad, visited the temple.

 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Attack on Minorities

Banshkhali BNP leader sent to jail

A Chittagong court yesterday sent BNP leader and Banshkhali upazila chairman to jail after he was shown arrested in a case filed in connection with attacks on Hindus in the upazila on February 28.
Earlier in the morning, law enforcers arrested Alamgir Kabir Chowdhury for his alleged role in instigating attacks against the Hindu community on that day.
Alamgir is also the vice president of Chittagong South district unit of BNP and president of Banshkhali upazila BNP unit.
Police produced Alamgir before the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Banshkhali in the afternoon with a seven-day remand prayer, said Habibur Rahman, sub-inspector of Banshkhali Police Station.
The court ordered to send him to jail, keeping the hearing on his remand prayer pending.
On February 28, fanatics set fire to three Hindu temples and vandalised several houses and business establishments of the community in the upazila, leaving an elderly person Dayal Hari Shil killed.
The violence erupted immediately after a tribunal awarded death penalty to Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for committing wartime offences in 1971.
Miscreants also vandalised and set fire to several shops, houses and a temple of Hindus at Napora Bazar and Chambol Bazar on March 3 during hartal hours.
A joint team of Chittagong police and Rapid Action Battalion arrested Alamgir Kabir from his Katalganj residence in the port city around 3:00am, said Md Iltutmish, additional superintendent of police, yesterday.
“Kabir has been arrested for instigating Jamaat-Shibir’s violence in Banshkhali upazila following the verdict of Sayedee on February 28,” he added.
Talking to The Daily Star over the phone, BNP lawmaker Jafrul Islam Chowdhury of Banshkhali condemned the arrest of Kabir without any warrant, terming it a political harassment.
A total of seven cases had so far been filed with Banshkhali police in connection with the mayhem on February 28 and March 3, accusing 690 named and several thousand unnamed people.
The High Court on Sunday asked the police to arrest in seven days the culprits who had attacked the minority people and damaged their houses and temples in Banshkhali on February 28 and March 3.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Attack on Minorities

MKA finally visits affected area in Ctg

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday said the state will make its highest effort to punish the attackers of religious minorities.
He was addressing a meeting at Banshkhali Upazila Parishad ground after visiting different areas affected by Jamaat-Shibir violence on February 28.
It was his first visit to an affected area after the Jamaat-Shibir men had unleashed mayhem across the country on that day, hours after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
“Those who attacked the religious minorities and torched their houses and temples are anti-liberation forces. They [attackers] are against our country and Liberation War and Bangladesh has no place for them,” said MK Alamgir.
He pledged to confront with iron hands those who are trying to foil the war crimes trial and attacked the religious minorities.
The minister visited the affected Hindu families, temples, UNO office, upazila parishad office and court building under Banshkhali Municipality.
He distributed Tk 10,000 among each of seven Hindu families whose houses were burned down in the attack.
On February 28, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir vandalised and torched the courts of senior judicial magistrate and senior assistant judge, Upazila Parishad office, upazila krishi office, office of upazila fisheries officer and office of upazila nirbahi officer (UNO). (Source: The Daily Star)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hindu leaders demand trial of attackers

Leaders of Sacheton Hindu Shomaj, an organisation of the Hindu community, yesterday demanded immediate trial of the culprits involved in the recent attacks on Hindus across the country.
They were addressing a press conference at Chittagong Press Club arranged to protest the attacks on the people.
Their other demands are — providing compensation to the victims; rehabilitation of the torched temples; formation of a ministry of minority affairs to ensure rights of the people; and deployments of law enforcers in the affected area till the next general election.
Sacheton Hindu Shomaj Convener Ripom Das Jishu Krishna Raxit, and Ashok Chakrabarti also spoke on the occasion. (Source: The Daily Star)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Idol damaged

Criminals damaged an idol of goddess Saraswati at a local club in Sherpur district early yesterday. A worship material was also stolen from there. Police said devotees found the Saraswati idol damaged at Madobpur Club in the morning when they went there to perform puja and informed police. The superintendent of police and leaders of the district Puja Udjapan Parishad visited the spot. SP Anisur Rahman said the idol was damaged in a planned way in a bid to harm the communal harmony in the district. Punitive action would be taken against those responsible for the offence, he said. (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Security for minorities demanded

The government should take immediate steps to ban the “evil political forces” that are spreading religious extremism and threatening public security, said some citizen group members yesterday.
They demanded exemplary punishment of those responsible for creating anarchy in the country and attacking minority communities. The speakers also demanded security of the minority communities.
They made the demands at a press conference organised by Nagorik Protinidhi Dal (citizen representative group) in the capital following their visits to some areas of Satkhira where communal attacks and political violence occurred.
Reading a statement, Jagannath University teacher Rajib Mir said along with the government’s actions, social resistance, comprising people of all walks of life, must be built to combat communalism and fundamentalism.
He alleged that the ruling Awami League had failed to build resistance against the attacks of Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat backed Islami Chhatra Shibir in Satkhira and the administration there played a “questionable” role in this matter.
Claiming that there are familial relationships between local AL and Jamaat leaders in Satkhira, he said, “Local administration and ruling party leaders must shoulder the responsibility of the incidents that occurred in Satkhira.” (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Attacks on Hindus

BJP march to Dhaka stopped in Tripura

Over 800 BJP workers were stopped in their bid to enter Bangladesh yesterday to protest atrocities on minorities and join protesters demanding the death penalty for those convicted of war crimes in that neighbouring country, police officials here said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadres tried to enter Bangladesh through the Akhaurah checkpost near here. They were led by Tripura state party president Sudhindra Dasgupta.
“A huge contingent of police led by senior officials stopped the march 500 metres from the Akhaurah checkpost. There was no major trouble,” a police official told IANS.
Additional troopers of the Border Security Force (BSF) have been deployed at the Akhaurah border to foil further attempts by BJP cadres to enter Bangladesh.
“The march to Dhaka was organized to protest atrocities on religious minorities and their installations in Bangladesh. The rally was also to express solidarity with protestors of Ganajagaran Mancha,” Dasgupta told reporters.
Ganajagaran Mancha, a platform of intellectuals and activists, has been organizing protests across Bangladesh since February 5 to press demand for the death penalty for all war criminals during the country’s liberation from Pakistan in 1971 and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, an organization backed by fundamentalists.
The march to Dhaka was in support of the BJP’s five-point charter of demands, which includes reconstruction of damaged shrines, compensation to families affected by religious strife and security to people from religious minority communities.
BJP leaders have submitted a letter at the Bangladesh diplomatic mission in Agartala addressed to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requesting her to take steps to stop attacks on people belonging to religious minorities.
According to Dasgupta, religious minorities had accounted for 46 per cent of the population in East Pakistan (before the creation of Bangladesh) and even after the partition in 1947.
“Following attacks by fundamentalists, the percentage reduced to 28 after Bangladesh was created in 1971 and now it has fallen to 10 per cent,” Dasgupta said.
Intellectuals, law-makers, artists, singers, academicians, journalists, writers and poets of Bangladesh and India have organised programmes in Agartala in solidarity with the protestors of Ganajagaran Mancha in Bangladesh. (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Temple in Bogra torched

Criminals torched a temple in Jamindar Bari area of Kagoil union under Gabtoli upazila yesterday. Locals said that the door of the Hindu temple beside Kagoil High School was damaged after it was torched in the early hours. Kagoil union parishad chairman Shafi Ahmed Shapon said that on information, Gabtoli police inspected the spot. Officer in-charge (OC) of Gabtoli PS Ali Ahmed Hasmi said, police was investigating the matter and trying to nab criminals. (Source: The Daily Star)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hindus attacked afresh in 4 dists

 

 

Idols vanadalised at Sripur in Gazipur yesterday. Photo: Star

Yet again religious fanatics have attacked temples, houses and shops of Hindus in four districts.
Since Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee was handed down a death sentence in a war crimes case on February 28, more than 26 temples, 175 houses and dozens of shops of the minorities across the country have been vandalised, torched and looted.
Basudev Dhar, president of Greater Dhaka Puja Committee, yesterday said these communal attacks were demoralising many Hindu families.
“The worst pain for the victims comes when they are left alone after such attacks,” he said. “The leaders and members of parliament have not stood by the Hindus the way they should have.”
“In the past,” he added, “we have resisted such attacks together.”
Khulna

In Khulna, over 150 people equipped with iron rods and other lethal weapons attacked Banikpara Pabla Sarbojonin Kalibari Mandir around 9:00pm Monday.
When the rioters stormed the temple, some devotees already had gathered there for prayers. The assault left a person named Khokon injured.
The rioters also attacked Gachtala temple. Over 50 Hindu homes and shops adjacent to the two temples were vandalised and torched.
According to locals, law enforcers did not come on time to prevent the attacks.
Khulna Puja Udjapon Parishad held a protest rally in front of Banikpara Pabla Temple yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile, police have arrested two people, Humayun Kabir, 26, and Arman, 18, in this connection, said ASI Anwar Hossain of Daulatpur Police Station. The identities of the arrestees could not be known immediately.

 

Netrakona
In Netrakona, rioters vandalised Hari Mandir in Bobahala village under sadar upazila, damaging seven idols.
Temple priest Mithun Chand, said, “I returned home around 11:00pm [Monday] keeping the Mandir under lock and key.
“The next morning, I found the temple vandalised.”
Also on Monday night, vandals damaged four idols of Hindu goddesses at Kripamoyee Kali Mandir under Sripur upazila in Gazipur.
Amir Hossain, officer-in-charge of Sripur Police Station, said, “The temple, situated on the premises of the house of schoolteacher Shupendru Chandra Das, was vandalised sometime at night. The attackers took away the heads of the deities.”

 

Rangpur
In Rangpur, the house of Nilkanta Roy in Itakumary union of Pirgachha upazila was torched around 2:00am yesterday. Nilkanta said the estimated loss could be around Tk 2 lakh.
Jashidul Haque, Chairman of Itakumary Union Parishad, said, “Miscreants set fire to the house with a view to destroying communal harmony in the area.” (Source: The Daily Star)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Attack on Hindus

Temples in 2 districts attacked

 

 

This Hindu temple at a village in Gabtoli upazila of Bogra district was vandalised in the early hours of yesterday. PHOTO: FOCUS BANGLA

Religious bigots vandalised five more Hindu temples and torched idols in Bogra and Bagerhat early yesterday.

Bogra
In Bogra, they damaged at least eight idols in four temples at Sonaray and Rameshwarpur unions of Gabtoli upazila.
In the morning, locals found the idols in the temples vandalised.
Shishir Karmakar of Rameshwarpur said local Hindus were worried about the attacks.
The Hindus did not disclose the names of the attackers for lack of security, AH Azam Khan, president of Gabtoli upazila unit Awami League, told The Daily Star.
Bogra deputy commissioner, police super, local AL leaders and minority community leaders visited the affected temples.
Two cases were filed with Gabtoli Police Station in this connection.
Incensed at the attacks on temples, locals in Sonaray and Rameshwarpur unions brought out protest processions.
Contacted, Gabtoli Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Monira Sultana said financial support would be provided to the authorities of the affected temples to repair the damaged temples.

Bagerhat

Religious fanatics damaged and torched several idols of Dakkhin Para Sarbojonin Durga Mandir in Uttar Gopalpur village under Kachua upazila early yesterday.
Quoting witnesses, president of the temple committee Pulin Bihari Paik said a gang of fanatics entered the temple around 4:00am; damaged several idols and set the temple afire.
Seeing the flames at the temple, locals rushed to the scene and doused the fire.
Neither the temple committee nor police could identify the attackers.
Kachua UNO Md Ashraful Islam visited the temple in the morning.
Meanwhile, around 120 people were sued in Khulna city on Tuesday night on charges of vandalising and torching temples, shops and houses of Hindus in Banikpara Pabla area under Daulatpur Police Station, reports our Khulna correspondent.
Police also picked up five people in this connection from different parts of the city around midnight Tuesday.
The detainees are Shahidul, 23, Limon, 18, Halim, 22, Shahabuddin, 40, and Shamim, 25.
Tilok Goswami, general secretary of Banikpara Pabla Sarbojonin Kalibari Mandir committee, filed the case, said Daulatpur police.
Earlier, police had arrested Humayun Kabir, 26, and Arman, 28, in connection with the arson attacks. The two were sent to jail through a local court.
On Monday night, religious bigots ransacked and torched Banikpara Pabla Sarbojonin Kalibari Mandir, Gachtala Temple and over 50 houses and shops of Hindus in the city.
Over 31 temples, hundreds of houses and shops of Hindu minorities have been ransacked, torched and looted across the country since the International Crimes Tribunal-1 on February 28 sentenced Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee to death for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2 Hindu temples damaged

Unidentified people vandalised the boundary wall of a temple and looted another in Begumganj upazila of Noakhali Friday night.
Besides, a house of a Hindu was set on fire in Madaripur early yesterday.
The boundary wall of Rajganj Kali Mandir was damaged and donation box and worship items were looted from Chowmuhani Mohashashan Kali Mandir Friday night, said Syed Ahsanul Islam, officer-in-charge of Begumganj Police Station.
Meanwhile, criminals set fire to a house of a Hindu family in Kulpatti of Madaripur early yesterday.
The house is owned by Uttam Malo, said Madaripur Superintendent of Police Russell Sheikh, adding police suspected that some people had torched the store room of that house because of a personal vendetta or enmity over business.
Fire fighters with the help of local people doused the flames.
Our Lalmonirhat correspondent reported that two cases were lodged with Hatibandha Police Station yesterday in connection with attacks on the Hindus at Madhya Goddimari village of Hatibandha upazila in Lalmonirhat.
Shyamol Kumar Roy, son of assaulted freedom fighter Amulya Chandra Roy, lodged a case accusing 24 people. An assaulted woman, Srimati Bela Rani, filed another case against 26 people. But no arrests were made as of yesterday. (Source: The Daily Star)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

 

Attacks On Minorities

Academics call for rehabilitation

 

 

Teachers of Dhaka University hold a solidarity meeting at Aparajeya Bangla yesterday, calling for furthering the spirit of the Liberation War and condemning those who carried out communal attacks on minorities. Photo: Star

Academicians, victims of recent communal attacks, and Shahbagh protesters yesterday called upon the government to immediately ensure rehabilitation of the minorities who lost their houses, worship places and business establishments in Jamaat-Shibir attacks.
They also demanded immediate arrest and trial of Jamaat-e-Islami and pro-Jamaat Islami Chhatra Shibir activists who are responsible for the countrywide attacks after Delawar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death on February 28.
The demands came at a “solidarity rally” organised by Dhaka University teachers before Aparajeya Bangla on the campus.
They also urged the countrymen to resist Jamaat-Shibir terror, reiterating that the politics of the anti-liberation forces should be banned for their role since 1971.
DU Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury said the state apparatus is responsible for its failure to protect the minority community.
Noted educationist Ajoy Roy said they did not attack the minorities for destroying their houses or worship places, rather their motive is to turn the country into a communal one like Pakistan. He announced to hold a rally before TSC cafeteria on March 29.
Citing the communal attacks as violation of human rights, Gonojagoron Mancha Convener Imran H Sarkar criticised the role of different international human rights organisations who termed the capital punishment for war criminals as “inhumane”. (Source: The Daily Star)

 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2 Hindu temples damaged

Unidentified people vandalised the boundary wall of a temple and looted another in Begumganj upazila of Noakhali Friday night.
Besides, a house of a Hindu was set on fire in Madaripur early yesterday.
The boundary wall of Rajganj Kali Mandir was damaged and donation box and worship items were looted from Chowmuhani Mohashashan Kali Mandir Friday night, said Syed Ahsanul Islam, officer-in-charge of Begumganj Police Station.
Meanwhile, criminals set fire to a house of a Hindu family in Kulpatti of Madaripur early yesterday.
The house is owned by Uttam Malo, said Madaripur Superintendent of Police Russell Sheikh, adding police suspected that some people had torched the store room of that house because of a personal vendetta or enmity over business.
Fire fighters with the help of local people doused the flames.
Our Lalmonirhat correspondent reported that two cases were lodged with Hatibandha Police Station yesterday in connection with attacks on the Hindus at Madhya Goddimari village of Hatibandha upazila in Lalmonirhat.
Shyamol Kumar Roy, son of assaulted freedom fighter Amulya Chandra Roy, lodged a case accusing 24 people. An assaulted woman, Srimati Bela Rani, filed another case against 26 people.
But no arrests were made as of yesterday. (Source: The Daily Star)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Arson attacks on temples protested

 

 

Hindus hold a banner at Bamunia Palpara in Sonaray union under Gabtali upazila of Bogra district yesterday demanding punishment to the religious fanatics who vandalised idols at the local Kali temple in the early hours of March 20. PHOTO: STAR

Bogra district unit of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad held a rally at Shabekpara-Karmakarpara village under Gabtoli upazila yesterday, protesting arson attack on four Hindu temples in Sonaray and Rameshwarpur unions of the upazila in the early hours of March 20.
Before holding the rally, leaders of the parishad and district unit of Awami League visited the four torched temples in the unions.
Religious bigots attacked and set fire to the temples and vandalised at least 11 idols at around 1:00am.
Chaired by Dr NC Borai, president of the district unit of oikya parishad, the rally was addressed, among others, by Dr Nimchandra Bhowmik, BMA Bogra unit President Dr Mostafa Alam Nannu, and AL leader Ragibul Hasan Ripu.
The speakers demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits who attacked the houses and temples of Hindus and vandalised idols across the country after February 28. They also urged the people of the area to stay united to foil any further bid to attack on the temples.
Dr Nimchandra Bhowmik, presidium member of the oikya parishad, in his speech urged the local people to maintain communal harmony. He also demanded exemplary punishment of the persons involved in torching temples and vandalising idols.
Protesting the attacks on temples, locals in Sonaray and Rameshwarpur unions brought out processions and held rallies in the unions on March 21.
Contacted, Ali Ahmad Hasmi, officer-in-charge (OC) of Gabtoli Police station, said they have so far arrested 14 people in connection with the attacks on temples in Sonaray and Rameshwarpur unions.
Meanwhile, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia visited the temples in the two unions during his visit to the district on Sunday. (Source: The Daily Star)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rape of Marma girl triggers protest

Rape of a minor Marma girl allegedly by a teenage boy in Khagrachhari has triggered protest in the hill districts. (Source: The Daily Star)
An eight-year-old schoolgirl was raped allegedly by a 14-year-old boy in Hapchhari area under Ramgarh upazila of Khagrachhari district on Tuesday morning, reports our correspondent.
Police said, Belal Hossain of the area picked up the girl from her school premises at around 9:00am, and took her to a nearby lonely place. There he violated her and fled the scene.
The girl attending a sports programme at the school on the occasion of Independence Day, said Bashir Ahmad, officer in-charge at Guimara police station.
On information, police arrested Belal, also a class seven student at Hapchhari High School, from his residence at night on charge of violating the girl.
The girl was sent to Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital for medical test, said the OC.
Yesterday, Marma Shanggathon Oikyo Parishad formed a human chain in Shapla Chattar area of the town, demanding exemplary punishment to the rapist. A rally was also held in this regard.
Addressing the rally, the speakers urged the government to take immediate initiative to ensure security of women of minority community.
Among others, Aungshanu Marma, president of the Parishad and Konika Dewan, leader of Hill Women’s Federation, spoke.
In Rangamati, CHT Mohila Samity, Hill Women’s Federation (HWF), Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP) and Jubo Samity yesterday protested the rape of the girl, reports our correspondent.
In a joint statement, the leaders of the organisations, demanded punishment to the rapist.
Besides, the culprit must give compensation to the victim’s family, they said.
The organisations are the associate bodies of Parbattya Chattagram Jana Saghati samiti (PCJSS).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Houses of three Hindu families attacked for skipping AL meeting

A group of people allegedly belonging to the ruling Awami League (AL) vandalised eight houses of three Hindu families at Doyarampur village in Kumarkhali upazila on Tuesday night for not attending an AL meeting at the upazila headquarters.
A case was filed with Kumarkhali Police Station of Kushtia district in this connection and police arrested two of the attackers, Abdur Rashid and Ibrahim Hossain, of the same village early yesterday, said Mofiz Uddin Ahmed, superintendent of police, Kushtia.
Shamsuzzaman Arun, Kumarkhali municipality mayor and also general secretary of AL upazila unit, said the arrestees are AL activists.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Syed Belal Hossain, Superintendent of Police Mofiz Uddin, Kumarkhali Upazila Parishad Chairman Abdur Rouf visited the village at around 12:30am.
Police said a group of at least 20 people vandalised the houses of Kartik Ghosh, Montu Ghosh and Robi Ghosh at the village around 9:00pm on Tuesday.
According to the case filed by Kartik Ghosh, one of the victims, a group of 20 to 25 people led by Abdur Rashid and Ibrahim Hossain, came to their house in the morning and introduced themselves as the men of Kumarkhali upazila AL President Abdul Mannan Khan.
They asked all members of the three Hindu families to join the meeting of upazila AL at Kumarkhali municipality market ground in the afternoon, Kartik said.
“As only a few of us attended the meeting, the group led by the duo attacked our houses and looted valuables including gold ornaments,” he further stated.
Upazila Parishad Chairman Abdur Rouf has strongly condemned the incident and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved.
Advocate Joydev Biswas, president of the Kushtia unit of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikyia Parishad, yesterday protested the attack on the houses of three Hindu families at Doyarampur village in Kumarkhali upazila and demanded arrest and exemplary punishment of the attackers.
Deputy Commissioner Syed Belal Hossain said stern action will be taken against the persons involved in the attack.  Law enforcers have been asked to arrest the rest of the culprits, the DC added. (Source: The Daily Star)

Friday, March 29, 2013

2 temples vandalised

Criminals set fire to a temple in Rangamati and vandalised another in Naogaon early yesterday.
Some people set fire to Shree Shree Hari Mondir at Amtali Bazar under Baghaichhari upazila of Rangamati around 5:00am and fled the scene, said Md Rafiqullah, officer in-charge of Baghaichhari Police Station.
Police later held a union-level BNP leader and four activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami in this connection.
They are Sirajul Islam Bachchu, general secretary of Amtali union unit of the BNP and Jamaat activists Alam, Shafi, Haris and Ahad Bhandari.
The OC blamed the arson on the BNP and Jamaat men.
Bhuson Som, president of the temple committee, condemned the attack, and demanded punishment to those who were behind it.
Meanwhile, unidentified criminals vandalised an idol of Hindu goddess Swaraswati at Ramnagar village under Manda upazila in Naogaon.
The idol had been taken away from a temple at the residence of Soumendranath Pramanik in the middle of the night, said Abdullah Hel Baki, officer-in-charge of Manda Police Station.
Later, broken pieces of the idol were found in a field some three hundred yards from the temple, the OC said, adding local people informed the police of the damaged idol in the morning.
Soumendranath filed a case with the police station in this regard. (Source: The Daily Star)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Editorial from the Daily Star

Protect minority community

Need for citizens’ resistance committees

RECENT attacks on members of Hindu community and destruction of their properties and temples have been a shame for a pluralistic society.

Despite the government’s promise to stop the onslaught on the community and its assurances to protect them, there is still no sign that acts of vandalism are abating.

Against this backdrop, participants in a roundtable, while voicing their concerns over the trend urged political leaders, intellectuals, cultural activists and members of the common people to form citizens’ committees at the local level to combat this menace.

Involvement of the entire community is an essential element of creating resistance against quarters out to destabilise communal harmony. And any worthwhile programme to deal with problems of this nature must be inclusive.

So far, the government has increased police presence and sent some relief materials to the affected localities. There is need for more of this.

And short of taking a comprehensive strategy through involving the community, the government has been blaming the opposition and Jamaat-Shibir elements for the communal attacks.

As a consequence, fear and an acute sense of insecurity have gripped them. This has somewhat tarnished the image of the government and the country, which is avowedly a secular one.

It is expected that the government develop a failsafe strategy to combat communal violence. Side by side with forming citizens’ committees, it should also ensure that the Members of Parliament (MPs) are present in their own constituencies to motivate the people to resist those fanatics trying to destabilise society.

We would do well to remember that how we treat the minority community will be a measure of civilised conduct in our society.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stop attacks on minorities

Urge noted citizens; NHRC chief frustrated over failure to protect them

The formation of citizens’ committees composed of political leaders, intellectuals, cultural activists and general masses in every locality is a must to resist repressions on the minority communities, speakers told a roundtable yesterday.
They said torture on the minorities, which has been a recurrent phenomenon across the country, is now increasing geometrically.
The recent attacks on them, particularly the Hindus, have serious dimensions in terms of its characteristics which lead to a silent but rapid migration of the persecuted people, they added.
Sampreeti Mancha, a citizens’ platform, organised the roundtable titled “Duties to resist minority repression” at TSC cafeteria at Dhaka University campus.
The lawmakers will have to go to their own constituencies not only to stand beside the victims but also to unite local leaders and people to raise a defence against any repression, the speakers observed.
They also suggested the lawmakers initiate a new cultural revolution in their localities.
Pointing at the recent attacks on the minorities across the country, Prof Ajoy Roy, president of the Mancha, said the migration rate of the Hindus has increased to a large extent with the wealthy and meritorious people of this community leaving the country.
The marginal Hindus, especially the poor, are the victims of the recent attacks, he said, adding, “We have to stand against the attackers and resist them unitedly.”
Expressing frustration over the recent attacks on the minorities, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman said there will be no Hindu citizen left in Bangladesh after 20 years.
“Because we did whatever is needed to force them [Hindus] out of the country and we have always failed to do what was needed to protect them,” he added.
The NHRC chief cautioned that whatever has happened in the recent time was merely a rehearsal and the final act was yet to come.
“Are we — the citizens, civil society members and the government — prepared for that? It’s not the time for talks only; it’s high time we came forward and acted to resist that quarter which is playing a game to destroy the state,” he said.
“We have to form citizens’ committee in every vulnerable areas,” Prof Mizanur said, demanding that the government quickly rebuild the damaged houses and temples of the minorities as it did in Ramu.
Kajol Debnath, presidium member of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, suggested the government get prepared to thwart possible violence centring war crimes verdicts to be delivered in the coming days.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Mujahidul Islam Selim, its presidium member Haider Akbar Khan Rono, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum Sanjib Drong and Mancha leaders Sourav Sikdar and Robayet Ferdous also spoke. (Source: The Daily Star)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Govt fails to save Hindus

Says rights boss

 

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman at a discussion in the capital yesterday came down heavily on the government for its failure to stop attacks on religious minorities.
The government must answer why the people of religious minorities were living in utter insecurity in Bangladesh, he said.
“The state must come forward immediately to save us from the insecurity,” he added.
He also called upon the people to be united to and put an end to murders and destruction of state assets.
“An anti-discrimination law ensuring equal rights for all is necessary to unite the people,” said Prof Rahman.
He was speaking at the discussion titled “National Constitution on Equal Opportunities for all: Towards an Anti-Discrimination Legislation”, organised by NHRC at Cirdap auditorium in the capital. (Source: The Daily Star)

(Compiled by Bangladesh Minority Watch)

 

Investigation of BDMW on April 2013

Bangladesh Minority Watch has investigated a number of cases in the month of March. Short descriptions of the cases are stated here.

Case 1: Agailjhara, Barisal

 

Type of Violation: Right to own/retain property

Type of Act: Vandalising statue of Hindu deity

Investigation conducted by: Adv. Rabindra Ghosh and Badal Bairagi

Date of Incident: 13 March 2013

Location: Village: Bagpara, Union Council: Bakal, Police Station: Agailjhara, District: Barisal.

Date of Investigation: 10 April 2013

Description:

On 13.03.2013 at about 03.30 one of the devotees Mr. Anjan Sarkar by his Cell telephone number 01739908486 informed the complainant – Mrinal Kanti Bepari that “Bagpara Sarbajanin Sree Sree Kali Mandir” was attacked and broken by some unknown perpetrators. As soon as Mrinal Kanti Bepari got information he went to the spot and saw the lock and key of the Temple was not broken but the Kali Murthi (statue) was broken & defaced, but the other statue of Hindu Goddess nearby were not found broken. Mrinal Kanti informed Dr. Nil Kanta Bepari (71) and others and they found the broken Hindu Kali Deities at the spot. Mrinal Kanti said “The Hindu deities have been broken with a view to defame the Hindu religion.” Due to breaking of this statue they sustained an amount of Taka 5,000/-. Mrinal Kanti lodged F.I.R. at Agoiljhara Police station on 13.03.2013 under section 448/295/34 of penal code without naming any suspected perpetrators.

 Identity of the victims:

The victims all are followers of Hinduism. They all belong to minority Hindu community.

Name: Horihar Biswas (68), Mrinal Kanti Bepari (65) Kunja Bihari Baisnab (45) Anjan Sarkar (35) Bibhuti Sarkar (40) Amullya Sarkar (80) Narayan Chandra Biswas (40) Kushablal Baisnab (40) Debashish Bepari (25) Sunil chandra Bepari (70) Saroj Bepari (38) Nirmal halder (38) Balaram Halder (64) Parimal Halder (50) Nirmal Halder (42) Monotosh Sarkar (35) Kamal Biswas (35) Amal Biswasw (35) Kanai Lal Baisnab (58) Kapil Krishna Baisnab (70) Nil Kanta Sarkar (58) Nil Ratan Sarkar (48) Shankar Bepari (35) Kritanta Baisnab (25) Ms.Jhunu Rani Biswas (32) Ms.Sriti Rani Biswas (35) Ms. Mitu Rani Biswas (30) Ms. Sumati Rani Baisnab (32) Ms. Sabita Rani Bepari (45)

Alleged perpetrator(s): Unidentified

 Legal status

Mrinal Kanti Bepari (62) son of late Monoranjan Bepari lodged F.I.R. at Agoiljhara P.S. on 13.03.13 under section 448/295/34 of penal code without naming the accused. Police could not arrest any perpetrators till writing of this report.

 Action:

Adv. Rabindra Ghosh along with Badal Bairagi visited the spot. The team talked with the victims, took their statements. He also visited the respective police station, talked with Md.Sajjat Hossain who informed Mr.Ghosh that some BNP personnel belonging to Hindus demolished and desecrated the Hindu deities.   As the incident took place in midnight none could say about perpetrators. But on query all the victims informed team that no Hindu perpetrator could demolish their own Goddess.  We are of the opinion that there might be some more interesting things to be presumed that as the village is full of Hindu communities, no other Muslim communities could dare to come for demolition of the deities.

Case 2: Gouranadi, Barisal

 

Type of Violation: Violation of the right to belif/religion, right to own/retain property.

Type of Act: Set fire on Hindu Deities in a temple, Arson attack.

Date of Incident:  02 April 2013

Location:  Village: Boradi Garangal, Upazila: Gouranadi, District: Barisal.

Date of investigation: 10 April 2013

Investigation conducted by: Adv. Rabindra Ghosh, Mr. Binay and Mr. Badal Bairagi

 

Description:

On the 02 April 2013 unidentified perpetrators attacked a Hindu temple and burnt statues of Hindu deities. The temple was Boradi Garangal Sarvajanin Durga Mandir at Gouranadi upazila in Barisal district. Within 02:15am to 02:30am someone or some perpetrators set fire on the temple. Eight statues including Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and lord Mahadeva, Kartika, Ganesha were completely burnt to ashes. Two pillars and some other portion of the temple were also burnt. A damage of 50,000/= taka occurred there.

Mr. Nabakrishna Datta, the president of the temple management committee, on behalf of all the devotees of the temple, filed a case on that day. The case number is 03, dated 02/03/2013 at Gouranadi police station in Barisal.

 Identity of the victims:

The victims all are followers of Hinduism. They all belong to minority Hindu community.

Name: Mr. Nabakrishna Datta (60) son of late Dulal Chandra Datta,Dulal Chandra Das (58) son of Late Jatindra Das,Ramkrishna Chandra Das (65) son of Late Sadananda Das, Dilip Nandi (48) son of Bipad Bhanjan Nandi, Dulali Rani Mandal –wife of Chitta Ranjan Mandal and more than two hundred other Hindu devotees of the locality.

 Alleged perpetrator(s):

The victim filed the case against unidentified perpetrators.

The police investigation found the following perpetrators.

1)       Md. Aminul Islam (20) son of Badsha Howladar, village: Hazi Para of Dakshin Pingalakathi, Police Station: Gouranadi, District: Barisal.

2)       Md. Mizan Khalifa (20) son of Esahak Khalifa, village: Dakshin Pingalakathi, Police station: Gouranadi, District: Barisal.

3)       Bahauddin Bahar (32) son of Belayet Ali Howladar, village: Purva Garangal, Police station: Gouranadi, District: Barisal.

4)       Md. Sarwar Hossain Pannu (36) son of A. Sattar Khandakar, village: Diyashur, Ward number 8, Municipality of Gouranadi, Barisal.

5)       Md. Manir Khalifa (37) son of Md. Samsuddin Khalifa (Kalu Khalifa), village: Kalna, Ward number 2, Nalchira Union Council, Police station: Gouranadi, District: Barisal.

6)       Md.Alauddin Bepari (45) son of late Nur Mohammad Bepari, village: Kashemabad, Gouranadi municipality, Barisal.

All the perpetrators are Muslims and followers of Islam. BDMW got above information from police station.

Legal Status:

On behalf of all devotees of the temple Mr. Nabakrishna Datta, the president of the temple management committee filed a case against some unknown perpetrators. Mr. Datta also claimed a damage of more than BDT 50,000/-.

The case number is 03 dated 02/04/2013 at Gouranadi police station in Barisal district. The police investigated the case and arrested six perpetrators. But all perpetrators got bail as the victim applied to the police authority.

Action by BDMW:

Adv. Rabindra Ghosh along with some assistants visited the spot of the incident. They took statements of the victims. They also visited the Officer-in-Charge (O.C) of Gouranadi police station. BDMW exclaimed that the perpetrators should be taken for remand to extract their confessional statements whether they are guilty or not. Moreover the victim Mr. Nabakrishna Datta, being threatened, denied allegation of the perpetrators with this incident and facilitated the perpetrators getting bail. Mr. Datta as well as the O.C. admitted this fact.

Case 3: Sonargaon, Narayanganj

Type of Violation: Right to retain/own property, right to personal integrity

Type of Act: Land grabbing, physical assault

Date of Incident: 02 April 2013

Location: Village: Bastal, Union Council: Jampur, Upazila: Sonargaon, District: Narayanganj

Date of investigation: 13th April, 2013

Investigation conducted by: Adv. Rabindra Ghosh, Biswajit Das

Description:

There is a long term dispute regarding land property among the victim Harinath Namodas (21) son of late Harendranath Das, village: Bastal, police station: Sonargaon, district: Narayanganj, and the alleged perpetrators from the same address and locality. The perpetrators are Md. Golzar (38) son of Joynal, Kadir (45) son of Joynal, Alamgir (28) son of Nur Mohammad, Mostakin (26) son of Shahjahan, Md. Mafi (36) son of Ambar Ali, Jamai Shahjahan (55) son of Shukkur Ali, Md. Suman (28) son of Majibar Rahman and 12/13 other persons. They don’t possess any valid documents to show that the land in question is belonging to perpetrators. But on the contrary the victim Harinath Namodas got valid documents and possessory rights by dint of inheritance.

For years the perpetrators are threatening the victim to give his land to them or else he along with his family members would be killed. This is the 3rd time attack on this minority family by those powerful perpetrators belonging to activists of Awami League in power. Following this on the 2nd April 2013 at 10:30am the perpetrators entered the house of the victim illegally and started threatening them again. They thrashed and broke the tin-made wall of the destitute family. Then they most illegally entered into the room of the victim and dragged him outside. They brutally attacked the victim and injured him by punch, kick, and by stick. The victim was severely injured at his right ear, head, legs, chest, back and many other parts of his body. The victim’s mother Sanchita Rani (39) and younger brother Parimal (19), Shyamal (14), younger sister Reeta (10) came forward to save Harinath. Unfortunately they were also brutally beaten and injured by those perpetrators.

The perpetrators vandalised their family box and looted cash amounted more than 50,000 taka. A golden chain of Harinath’s mother weighing 4 Ana costing 15,000 taka and a set of ear ring weighing about 4 Ana costing about 15,000 taka, a mobile handset of the victim costing 3,000 taka were looted forcefully from them. Hearing shouting of the victims the neighbours came forward. At that time the perpetrators left the house threatening again to kill the victim. By the help of neighbouring people Harinath’s mother took him to Sonargaon Hospital. Soon after the physical assault and hooliganism, Adv. Ghosh was informed by the mother of the victim over phone and as soon as Mr. Ghosh got information about the assault he immediately communicated with the Superintendent of Police, Narayangonj and O.C. Sonargaon P.S. and other law enforcing agencies for the safety and security of the victims.

Identity of the victim: 

Name:

1) Harinath Namodas (21) son of late Harendra Namodas, a carpenter

2) Sanchita Rani (39) wife of late Harendra Namodas, a housewife

3) Parimal Namodas (19) son of late Harendra Namodas, a college going student

4) Shyamal Namodas (14) son of late Harendra Namodas, a secondary school going student

5) Reeta Namodas (10) daughter of late Harendra Namodas, a primary school going student

Alleged perpetrator(s):

  1. Md. Golzar (38) son of Joynal, leader of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.
  2. Kadir (45) son of Joynal, leader of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.
  3. Alamgir (28) son of Nur Mohammad, activist of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.
  4. Mostakin (26) son of Shahjahan, activist of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.
  5. Md. Mafi (36) son of Ambar Ali, activist of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.
  6. Jamai Shahjahan (55) son of Shukkur Ali, activist of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.
  7. Md. Suman (28) son of Majibar Rahman, activist of B.N.P (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) at Jampur Union branch.

All the perpetrators are from Bastal village at Jampur Union Council under Sonargaon police station in Narayanganj district. All of them are followers of Islam. BDMW got this information from police report.

Legal status

The victim filed a case against the perpetrators at Sonargaon police station. The case number is 07, dated 06/04/2013 under BPC section 143/447/448/323/379/380/427/506. The case was submitted to court and the perpetrators surrendered before the court and the court granted them to remain on bail.

Action by BDMW:

On behalf of BDMW Advocate Rabindra Ghosh and Bishwajit Das visited the spot and took statements of the victims. They visited the police station and collected update about proceedings of the case. At the time of investigation the Officer-in-Charge Mr. Atikur Rahman, a Sub-Inspector Mr. Sadhan was present. But it is very unfortunate that the local government and the O.C of the police station did not take any preventive measures just to give security and protection to the victims in the previous incidents of torture and intimidation. We have also taken statements of the victims as well as the police officer at the spot. The O.C of the police station assured that the orphan Harinath Namodas and his properties will be protected. But we observed in presence of police the perpetrators were moving around the police station. However no action has been taken. The team also observed that there is a secret relationship between the perpetrators and the police. As a result of this relationship there might be miscarriage of justice and the perpetrators might get impunity out of this illegal relationship.

Press/ Media

First Incident:

Houses of Hindu family vandalised and looted

Published in the Bengali daily Juger Chinta, dated 08 March, 2010

Consequent upon dispute regarding land, houses and valuable goods of a Hindu family have been vandalised and looted in presence of general secretary of Upazila Awami League. The incident took place at Bastal village of Jampur union council under Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj at the house of Harindra Namodas. More than one hundred fruits bearing trees have been cut and looted by perpetrators on that very day.

Shri Harindra Namodas (he was alive at that time) filed a General Diary at Sonargaon police station. Police visited the spot. (Partly translated from Bengali. Later the victims’ house was looted again and they have lost the copy of General Diary

Second Incident:

Inhuman torture and repression on a minority family at Sonargaon

Published in Bengali daily Dainik Purbodesh, dated 22 August 2011

Regarding a land dispute a minority family is being tortured at the village of Bastal under Jampur union council in Sonargaon…

The perpetrators are trying to seize all of their properties. Shri Harinath Namodas had frequently been tortured and attempted to be murdered. Valuable properties have been looted from the victim’s house. Some portion of the victim’s land has been forcefully grabbed and a building thereon was built illegally by the concerned “Srijan Housing Ltd.” owned by Alhaz Shamim Tareq. Now the perpetrators (at August 2011) stay at this building at night and enjoy drugs, gambling and prostitutes. They have good relationship with local government officers and they have not yet been arrested. So they have become more ferocious and dangerous for this family. Having been harassed by the perpetrators the father of Harinath Namodas, Shri Harindra Namodas is under death bed. The perpetrators threatened the victims to be killed if they voluntarily surrender the land. The victim Harinath Namodas expected help from the Prime Minister, Home minister and Hindu leaders of the country. But no remedial measures had been taken. (Translated from Bengali)

 

Third Incident:

Attack on Minority family at Sonargaon, House vandalised and looted, Injured 5

Published in Bangla national dailies Samakal, Jugantar and Kaler Kantho

Date: 6 April, 2013

A house of Hindu family has been attacked, vandalised and looted from Bastal village at Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj district. Five members of that family including woman and children have been severely injured. Having been threatened three children of that family cannot go to school.

In order to grab land property of Harinath Namodas, the perpetrators from the same village named Goljar, Kadir, Alamgir, Mostakim and Suman along with 15-20 other persons are trying for many years. On the 5 April 2013 the perpetrators attacked the family again and vandalised and looted their house. They also physically tortured and severely injured Hardnath Namodas, his brothers Shyamal and Parimal, mother Sanchita Rani, sister Rita Rani. The injured victim Harinath told press media that the perpetrators are pressurising him to sell his land to a housing company. As he did not agree to sell his property, the perpetrators started torture on them.

Minority family tortured in Dhamrai

Grabbing and repossession of land issue led to inhuman torture on a minority family in Damrai. As the court admitted a claim of the minority family and punished the perpetrators one year jail, the perpetrators became ferocious on the minority family. They exposed the minority family as cannabis and fake money dealer and charged them to police.

The incident took place at Basuakhola village under Suapur union council in Dhamrai police station of Dhaka.

Previously the plaintiff and a female member of his family were brutally tortured and restrained all day long at the union council office. As the boy became sick and got admitted to Anam Medical College at Savar the chairman freed one person and charged another to police claiming his illegal activity. On the other side, regarding another false and concocted case other two members of the minority family have been arrested by police. [Published in the Bangla Daily Jugantor, dated 25 May 2013, translated from Bangla]

Minority family met the press begging their lives to PM

On Friday (24-05-2013) a minority family met the press at the press club of Nabinagar in Brahminbaria district begging their lives to the prime minister and the home minister. A written statement was read out by Bikash Chandra Das, son of Shanti Ranjan Das, a stationary enterprise owner at Bangura Bazar in Jindpur union council under Nabinagar upazila of Brahminbaria district. He said, “Firoza Begum, the second wife of Md. Abul Mia belonging to the same village Bangura and her people together forced him to sign a blank legal stamp. Thereby they grabbed his business enterprise. Regarding this incident I filed a case at court on 20th June, 2012. Police investigated the case and found the claim factual. They forwarded the investigation report to the court. Consequently the woman became angrier on me. He tortured on my family members and hanged lock on my business enterprise. Being informed police went to the spot and breaking the lock they returned my business to me. After that the people of Firoza Begum increased the torture upon our family. Now I along with my family members am staying outside my own house and village.” Mr. Mintu Mia, a member of Jindpur union council, and Mr. Jahirul Haq, the president of Bangura Bazar Committee informed that the accused woman is crazy and listen to none. We tried a lot but failed to recover the stamp paper. [Published in the Bangla Daily Ajkaler Khabor, dated 25 May 2013, translated from Bangla]

Temple and Statue Burnt in Thakurgaon

A temple of goddess Saraswati has been burnt by perpetrators in Thakurgaon. The statue of Hindu deity has been also burnt. At late night of 20 May 2013 the incident happened at Hathatpara in the town of Thakurgaon.

Local inhabitants informed that there are a Shiva temple and a Saraswati temple beside the temple of goddess Ganga. On Monday late night some unidentified perpetrators burnt the temple. Some portion of the statue of goddess Saraswati was also burnt.

President of Puja Udyapan Commiittee Mr. Ashok Kumar told that a person named Abdul Majed is claiming the land property of the temple as his own. He is also trying to grab this land. This incident might have been occurred by him or by his people. Regarding this incident the police of Sadar police station of Thakurgaon have arrested Abdul Majid (55) and his son Rasel (30). [Published in the Daily Janata, dated 21 May 2013, translated from Bangla]

Kali Temple torched in Manikganj

On 18 May 2013 a temple of Goddess Kali has been set on fire in Manikganj. At midnight of Saturday some unidentified perpetrators set fire on that temple and statue of its deity. Some valuable ornaments, cloths and the statue were burnt due to that attack.

The incident took place at the village of Kawarbil under Shibalay police station in Manikganj district. Police from Shibalaya police station visited the spot.

A devotee of the temple Ms. Chinu Rani Chanda informed that few days ago her son Sameer was physically assaulted by Moktar Hossain’s son Aminul Islam and Abdul Ahad. Police arrested Abdul Ahad against a case filed on Shibalay police station regarding that incident. After that Aminul Islam went house of Chinu Rani Chanda with 10-12 persons and threatened her to withdraw the case file from the police station and otherwise they will lead her family to leave this country. She claimed that the arson attack was a consequence of that incident.

The General Secretary of the temple management committee Mr. Gour Chandra Mandal told that he came to know about the incident on that morning and informed the law enforcement authority in Shibalay police station about the fact.

The Chairman of Mahadevpur Union Council Mr. Mahamud Amin Duke demanded exemplary punishment of the perpetrators. Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Shibalay Circle Md. Wahiduzzaman, Officer-in-Charge (O.C) Mr. Abul Kalam Azad visited the spot. The ASP told that legal action will be taken after proper investigation of the incident. [Published in the Daily Sangbad, dated 20 May 2013, translated from Bangla] (Compiled by Bangladesh Minority Watch)

As per report of The Daily Star, “‘Sporadic violence in different parts of the country left one person killed and more than 50 injured yesterday (09 April 2013) as the 36-hour shutdown imposed by the BNP-led 18-party alliance began to press for the release of its leaders.To add to the woes of city dwellers, especially the poor, Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, has called for another hartal tomorrow protesting the “torture of its detained president Delwar Hossain in police remand”.

In the capital, several crude bombs were exploded in different parts during the hartal. Law enforcers remained on guard at the BNP’s Nayapaltan headquarters since early morning yesterday.

A truck driver was killed when pickets threw brick chips in Baropur area on the Dhaka-Rangpur highway in Bogra around 5:00am.The brick-chips hit the driver, breaking through the windshield and leaving driver Shahidul Islam Khokon critically injured. Doctors declared him dead after he was taken to a hospital.

At least 25 people were injured in a clash between activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal in Moulvibazar. At least 15 vehicles and 10 shops were vandalised during the violence. Police arrested four people.

In Narayanganj, 10 people were injured, two by bullets, as the opposition men fought with police. Twenty-three BNP men were detained in this connection.

Police and BNP men exchanged bullets at Chakaria upazila of Cox’s Bazaar, leaving two opposition activists wounded.

In Jamalpur, 10 people were injured in a clash between BCL and BNP men.

In Rajshahi, three people were injured when JCD men clashed with police. Law enforcers fired over 100 rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse the JCD men, who blasted five cocktails.

Pickets vandalised ten battery-run auto rickshaws, a car and set fire to a pick-up van and three battery-run auto rickshaws at different points in Rangpur. Police arrested five pro-hartal activists.

Other districts such as Jessore, Pirojpur, Chapainawabganj, Chandpur, Gazipur, Pabna, Dinajpur, Chittagong and Khulna also witnessed clashes during the hartal hours.

Unidentified people burned two buses in Gazipur sadar upazila around 7:00pm yesterday.Meanwhile, Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban have been exempted from the purview of the hartal on the occasion of Boishabi, a traditional festival of indigenous people welcoming the New Year.”’From the report above it is clear the hard core Islamist Organisations like Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh as sponsored by Jamat-e-Islami Bangladesh or the Hizb ut-Tahrir from the back drop do not leave the ground of Dhaka until the revive a Fundamental Autocracy of Islam again in Bangladesh.These Islamic nexus to destroy the remaining secular thread of Bangladesh through a huge source of money coming from Arabic and Talibani world. Now it is flashed that Tk 85cr was spent for Hefajat long march to Dhaka to boost up the Islamist of Bangladesh in a very Islamic way.

All these hoodlums’ endeavor are meant for the cessation of rights of  Non-Muslims in BD through declaring Bangladesh a complete Islamic State. They are not satisfied with a state religion status of Islam in Bangladesh, where 90% population comes under Islamic faith. The most dangerous 13 point demand of Hefajat has its every force to reconvert Bangladesh again as an Islamic State of  Zia ul Haque regimen.

 

In a written statement, the Hefajat Ameer Shah Ahmad Shafi said, “Our current movement is not political. It’ll (govt) have to agree to our 13-point demand in order to continue in office.

 

The ruling Awami League is also shifting gradually from its secular standpoints and have started giving relaxation to the Jamat, Chatra Shivir and Hefajt to calm down a huge mass in favour of the Islamic Law in  Bangladesh.

The 13 points of the Islamist group Hefajat-e Islam may be the last thirteen nails in the coffin of Bangladesh Democracy as experts think too ominous. Undoubtedly, the following points must be the unlucky thirteen for the Bangladeshi minorities.

1. Restore the phrase ‘Complete faith and trust in the Almighty Allah’ in the constitution and repeal all the laws contrary to the holy Quran and Sunnah.

2. Pass a law in parliament keeping a provision of the maximum punishment of death sentence to prevent defaming Allah, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and Islam and smear campaigns against Muslims.

3. Take measures for stringent punishment against self-declared atheists and bloggers, led the so-called Shahbagh movement, and anti-Islamists who made derogatory remarks against the Prophet.

4. Stop infiltration of all alien-culture, including shamelessness in the name of individual’s freedom of expression, ant-social activities, adultery, free mixing of male and female and candle lighting.

5. Make Islamic education mandatory from primary to higher secondary levels canceling the anti-Islamic women policy and anti-religion education policy.

6. Officially declare Qadianis (Ahmadiyyas) as non-Muslim and stop their propaganda and all conspiratorial ill-moves.

7. Stop setting up sculptures at intersections, schools, colleges and universities across the country.

8. Lift restriction on saying payers in all mosques across the country, including Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, without any hassle and remove obstacles to carrying out religious activities.

9. Stop evil efforts to spread hatred in the mind of young generation regarding Islam through the misrepresentation of religious dresses and cultures in the media.

10. Stop anti-Islam activities by NGOs across the country, including in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and evil attempts of Christian missionaries for conversion.

11. Stop attacks, mass killing, oppression and indiscriminate shooting on Alem-Ulama, devout followers of the Prophet and towhidi janata (revolutionary people).

12. Stop threatening teachers and students of Qawmi madrasas, Islamic scholars, imams and khatibs and conspiracies against them.

13. Free immediately all the arrested Islamic scholars, madrasa students and towhidi janata and withdraw all false cases filed against them, compensate the victims and bring the assailants to justice.

In such a way the Insane Islam is pervading Bangladesh aiming a target to make Bangladesh as definite Hinduless in coming 10 years.Courtesy for Cartoons: The Daily Star. News Source: The Daily Star | Priyo News. 

 

 

There were around 50,000 Razakars who opposed Bangladesh’s independence. To abort the birth of Bangladesh they carried out a systematic cleansing operation of freedom fighters, students, teachers, intellectuals and religious minorities. a Quarter million women were raped. War Crimes Facts Finding Committee (WCFFC), a research organisation, recently unveiled a list of 1,597 war criminals. Of those on the list, 369 are members of Pakistan military, 1,150 are their local collaborators including members of Razakar and Al Badr and Peace Committee, and 78 are Biharis. Jamaat’s former Amir Golam Azam, present chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid, Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and AKM Yusuf, central committee members Delawar Hussain Sayedee, Abdus Sobhan, Abul Kalam Muhammad Yusuf and Abdul Quader Molla are among the high-profile Jamaat leaders on the list. Former BNP lawmakers Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Abdul Alim, and Anwar Zahid, a former minister during Ershad rule, are also on the list.

 

Minority persecution in Bangladesh – November-December 2013

 The daily Star: Sunday, November 17, 2013

Arson, Clash Ensued from Petty Squabble

Hindu locality burnt after Muslim youth’s death

15 houses gutted fully, seven partly; damage estimated at Tk 1 crore; most Nomopara residents flee village; 21-member police team deployed; meeting for amity held; arson victims given money, tin sheets

Our Correspondent, Barisal

 

A Hindu woman wails sitting on the ruins of her burnt house in Nomopara, a locality in Char Kawa village, about six kilometres east of Barisal city. Photo: Star

 

It all started with a trivial matter on Thursday evening when youths gathered at the primary school premises in Nomopara, a predominantly Hindu locality in Char Kawa village, about six kilometres east of Barisal city, to play badminton in floodlights.
During the match, an altercation broke out between a Hindu youth from Nomopara and a Muslim from neighbouring Char Aicha. At one point, Pavel Das, Shohagh Das, Pijush and Dhiman all from Nomopara slapped the youths from Char Aicha, numbering about seven. Pavel and his followers then held two of the Muslim men.
The other youths from Char Aicha rang up their friends and sought their help. The moment reinforcement came from Char Aicha, the Hindu youths ran into their nearby homes and brought out sharp weapons and resisted the attackers.
Shortly afterwards, four men from Char Aicha–Parvez Gazi, 20, his brother Pavel Gazi, 18, cousin Jahirul Hawladar, 22, and another relative Shamim Reza, 22–lay profusely bleeding on the ground with grievous wounds. Later when they were transferred to Barisal Medical College Hospital, doctors declared Parvez dead around 9:00pm. With teeth wounds, Jahirul was transferred to Dhaka Dental College Hospital.

 

It was one of more than a dozen Hindu houses, which were set afire on Friday morning by people from neighbouring Char Aicha village. Photo: Star

The district administration immediately deployed eight armed policemen in Nomopara and set up a camp there. But on Friday morning, four of the policemen were withdrawn by Officer-in-Charge of Bandar Police Station Rezaul Islam, leaving the strength of the law enforcers at only four.
But things were boiling at Char Aicha. At around 9:00am Friday, a rumour was spread in Char Aicha about the death of Jahirul in Dhaka.
Over a thousand men from Char Aicha joined in to attack Nomopara at exactly 9:50am. As the four policemen watched helplessly, the men torched down whatever they found on their way.
“I could never imagine so many people would attack the village in such a manner,” said the OC, Rezaul Islam.
According to the probe report prepared by a three-member team with Additional Deputy Commissioner (education) of the district administration Abul Kalam Azad as head, 15 Hindu houses in Nomopara were gutted fully and seven partly, wrecking a damage of about Tk 1 crore.
Most of around 300 residents of Nomopara have gone into hiding fearing further attacks.
“I’m scared. I don’t know the whereabouts of my husband and two sons, who fled the house Thursday night,” said Purnima Haldar, 40, in tears, sitting by her razed house.
Police arrested five youths of Char Kawa village including Pijush. At Char Aicha village, 20 youths were held yesterday for the arson attack, said the OC.
A unit of 20 policemen was deployed in Nomopara.

 

 

 

A tin-roofed house in flames. Burnt Hindu idols in the temple in Nomopara. Photo: Star

Last evening, a meeting of amity between the victims and people from Char Aicha was held in the affected locality in the presence of Barisal Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Shahidul Alam and Divisional Commissioner Md Nurul Amin. The district administration gave some of the victims Tk 10,000 each and tin sheets to rebuild houses.

Published: Monday, November 18, 2013

Hindu Locality Burnt in Barisal

25 held but case yet to be filed

Attack on Hindus in Barisal, Pabna condemned; punishment demanded

City Desk

Police on suspicion arrested twenty five people on Saturday in connection with the death of a youth that led to an arson attack on a Hindu locality in Barisal on Friday.
Leaders and activists of the BNP visited the burnt locality and the family of the deceased yesterday.
On Thursday night, locals of Nomopara, a predominantly Hindu locality in Char Kawa village, and their neighbouring village Char Aicha clashed over a badminton game that left a youth of Char Aicha dead and three others injured. The following day, incensed villagers of Char Aicha torched the Hindu locality.
The deceased is Parvez Gazi, 20. However, no case was filed in this connection yet.
Meanwhile, several organisations in the capital condemned the incident along with another arson attack on Hindus in Pabna.
In Barisal yesterday, activists of the BNP led by Mujibor Rahman Sarwar, president of the party’s Barisal city unit and organising secretary of the central unit, sympathised with Parvez’s family members and demanded arrest of his killers and of those who torched the Hindu para.
Many locals of Nomopara have fled and are yet to return in fear of further violence.
Meantime, students of Jhalakathi Government College, Parvez’s college, formed a human chain in front of Ashwini Kumar Hall demanding arrest of his killers.
In the capital, Samprodaikota-Jongibad Birodhi Mancha, a platform against communalism and militancy, at a human chain demanded immediate action against those who attacked minority communities in Barisal and Pabna.
On November 2, in Bonogram village in Pabna, Hindus were attacked centring a “Facebook page” in which extortionists alleged one Rajib Saha had maligned Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
“Culprits of previous attacks on minority communities were not brought to justice, and so the attacks continue,” said Pankaj Bhattacharya, president of United National Awami Party, at the human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club.
Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, urged all to be united against communalism, militancy and fundamentalism.
Workers Party of Bangladesh Rashed khan Menon urged opposition parties to take initiatives to save the minority communities.
Ajoy Roy, convener of the mancha, said the attacks on minorities were planned.
Dr Shahidullah Sikdar, vice president of Ganotantri Party, among others, spoke.
Bangladesh Maila Parishad, in a statement, condemned the Barisal incident and demanded punishment for the culprits.
The leaders of the mancha and Bangladesh Gonotantrik Ainjibi Samity, at a separate programme at the mancha’s office, claimed that a local criminal gang, comprising different political activists, is responsible for the attack on the Hindus in Pabna.
Helal Uddin, organising secretary of the ainjibi samity, said BNP-Jamaat, taking advantage of the gang’s attack on Raju’s father Bablu Saha, instigated the locals to attack other Hindu families.
In a press conference, he also alleged that some activists of the ruling AL were also involved in the attack.
He made the remarks on the basis of an inspection carried out by some leaders of the two organisations at Bonogram village on November 8.
The organisations also made several demands including formation of a judicial probe committee for proper investigation and arrest and severe punishment for the criminals.

Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rights Corner Attack On Hindus

A clarion call

Kishor Dutta

 

The recent demonic attacks over the hapless Hindus have again unmasked the tragic vulnerability of the god-forsaken minorities in Bangladesh against the pernicious religious zealots. The fanatic vandals galvanised by the concocted story of humiliation of the prophet of Islam, a brain-storming stratagem to provoke the credulous masses, have mercilessly torched the houses, nefariously desecrated the sacred temples and ruthlessly robbed the Hindus of all their belongings. These monstrous incidents are well-calculated sequel of the great Calcutta mayhem and the horrendous carnage of Hindus in Noakhali in 1946,the horrible massacre of Hindus by the atrocious rioters in 1950, 1964, 1965 and the mindless holocaust of Hindus by the Pakistani plunderers in 1971. Millions of Hindus have been engulfed by the orgy of violence. Neither the politicians, kleptocrat and opportunist, nor the administration, stooges of the Machiavellian coterie, come to their rescue. One captivating example is Fulchand v. Md. Hammad 34 DLR (AD) 361 depicting a poignant story of miscarriage of justice to the riot-hit Hindus swindled by a trickster.
The minority community is the glittering pearl in a statecraft. The striking benchmark of the democratic advancement in a state polity is how the minority community is treated in the state apparatus. The harmonious merging of majority and minority communities can bolster economic advancement and repel communal animosity. The majority will not hold any supercilious attitude towards the minority and the latter will not estrange themselves from amalgamation in the mainstream society. The constitution shall ensure vibrant protection of the minority from majoritarian highhandedness and myriad discriminations.
The Hindu community has immensely contributed to the nascent edifice of the statecraft. The Hindus, harbingers of democratic ideals and preachers of liberalism, were gruesomely massacred, their houses were indiscriminately torched and the Hindu women were raped by the hideous Pakistani military in 1971. With the grisly assassination of Sheikh Mujib, the cronies of Pakistan assumed the statesmanship and reinsulated their divisive dogmas and virulent bigotry in the naive masses. Consequently religious fanaticism carried the day with the rapid polarisation of Hindu community.
Uninterrupted migration of the Hindu community due to pervasive insecurity and majoritarian hooliganism is a recurrent phenomenon. The bigots take resort to every heinous stratagem to demoralise the Hindus. The unabated demographic declination of the Hindus denotes their dwindling socio-economic and political sway in the country. From 1947 up to 1951 the forced out- migration of the Hindus amounted to approximately 2.5 million. The premonition of being kicked out of the motherland incessantly haunts the Hindus.The relative share of Hindu population has nosedived from 18.4 percent of the total population in 1961 to 12.1 percent in 1981, to 10.5 percent in 1991 and to 9.2 percent in 2001 and further down to 8.5 percent in 2011[ Vide- Deprivation of Hindu Minority By Abul Barkat].

Let alone other discriminations,the Hindus are widely discriminated to have access to governmental jobs. From 1975 all the hegemonic governments have debarred the Hindus of their proportional representation in the public services. Recent statistics shows that the representation of the Hindus in the army is less than two percent, one glaring example of the deplorable representations of the Hindus in public services. Numerous meritorious Hindus are deprived of the governmental jobs because of their Hindu identity. In a writ petition the petitioner alleged he was sacked from his job due to his religious identity [Samiran Halder v. Bangladesh 59DLR 410]. The High Court observed that the issue was related to service matters to be decided by administrative tribunals. The Court failed to perceive that the court has jurisdiction to enforce fundamental rights even in service matters [Matiur Rahman v. Bangladesh 50DLR (AD)].
In a society where spirit of moderation is gone, no court can save it and where it flourishes, no court is requisite to safeguard it. Lately house of Lords has upheld the right of the Muslim women to wear hijab [R v. Denbigh High School (2006)]. In another epoch-making verdict the apex court of England has upheld the right of a Sikh to put on turban [Mandla v. Dowell Lee (1983)]. In contrast to this luminous scenario of the enlightened West, the judiciary of Bangladesh has not been able to guarantee the minority of their rights by exorcising the baneful phantom of enemy property laws and myriad discriminations.
The tragic lesson of history is that we learn nothing from history. The people in this country trusted the Muslim League to spearhead their cause which the League backfired. In their abortive mission, they have tried to pervert Islam, radicalise the majority Muslim and destroy the communal harmony. But the censorious masses became rapidly disillusioned of these treacherous tactics to hush up the ignominious deeds of the League which soon found its abode in the realm of oblivion. The facade of present time is that the satanic specter of the Muslim League has again resurrected in the political scene with the vicious goal to talebanise the country. They now advocate the people’s right to democracy which they mutilated in 1971 and the sustenance of Islam which they abuse to defraud the gullible masses.
The Hindu community bearing the pang of partition in 1947 found their resistance into resilience against the formidable foes bedeviling the statecraft. But does it justify the assumption that the Hindus have been cowards to face their nemesis? Have we not intrepidly countered the tumultuous days of 1971? Have we not descended from the victorious Aryans who excelled in literature, war tactics and theosophical monism? Are we not the proud progeny of the great revolutionary Syrya Sen who shook the British imperialistic edifice and the mighty leader Subhas Chandra Bose who piloted the Azad Hind Force to arouse the motherland from the perpetual subjugation? Have we forgotten the luminous precept of fluorescent Geeta that the soul of us cannot be breached, pierced, saturated and burnt? Therefore why is there such decadent lassitude towards those ferocious vandals? Hindus must unite and present a stiff resistance to these plunderers.

The writer is Student of Law, University of Dhaka.

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/a-clarion-call/

 

 The daily Star: Saturday, November 9, 2013

Failure to Protect Pabna Hindus

Abu Sayeed blames Tuku

Journalist Abed Khan says attackers belong to AL, BNP and Jamaat; one more held

Our Correspondent, Pabna

Former state minister for information Abu Sayeed yesterday accused State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku and police for not taking immediate steps to protect Hindus in Bonogram of Pabna’s Santhia upazila.
On November 2, over 100 Hindu houses in Sahapara and Ghoshpara were torched, vandalised and looted after some unidentified people in Bonogram Bazar distributed photocopies of, what they said, a “Facebook page” where one Rajib Saha maligned Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
The Hindu schoolboy was framed by extortionists, mostly belonging to the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, after his businessman father Babul Saha refused to pay them.
Meanwhile, police arrested a man, accused of instigating the attack, in connection with a case police filed on the night of the attack under the information and communication technology act.
Amimul Ehsan, 40, arrested at Sujanagar upazila’s Bhobanipur village, confessed in preliminary interrogation spreading the photocopies, Assistant Superintendent of Police Abu Bakar Siddique in Pabna informed The Daily Star.
The total number of arrests now stands at 11 centring three cases, one filed by Babul and the two by police.
Earlier yesterday, journalist Abed Khan, addressing a press briefing in Pabna Press Club, stated that the attackers belonged to the Awami League, BNP and Jamaat and the attack was not an isolated one but the same as the ones perpetrated on minorities around the country.
Abed was leading a 12-member delegation of eminent citizens, including Dhaka University teachers Rubaet Ferdous and Kaberi Gayen, who visited the affected families.
Sayeed, who also visited the families and was addressing a protest rally organised by Forum 71 in Bonogram Bazar, said Tuku, despite being present in a rally 10 kilometres away from the crime scene, failed to reach the spot on time.
“Even police did not rush to the spot immediately. So the criminals dared to loot and vandalise the Hindu residences continuously for around three hours,” he said.
“Criminals easily move with the state minister for home. How can police dare to arrest the criminals?” Police were yet to arrest the “real culprits” despite demands by people from all walks of life, said Sayeed.
The cases filed by police “under the directive of a quarter” accused some 3,000 unnamed only to aid the “business centring arrests”. Moreover, a person, Binoy Kumar Sarkar, who died 12 years ago, was stated as an eyewitness, he added.
“If you (police) are not capable of arresting the real culprits, you may leave. But do not harass innocent people,” said Sayeed.
He said extortionists had previously beaten a school headmaster of the locality before his pupils. Since the crime and similar ones went unpunished, the perpetrators dared to go on plundering, he said.
Sayeed urged Tuku and police to properly investigate the incident, and arrest the perpetrators and the masterminds. Otherwise the people of Bonogram would never forgive them, he said.

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/abu-sayeed-blames-tuku/

 

The daily Star:: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From Ramu to Bonogram

Shamsuddoza Sajen

The recent attack on Hindu community at Bonogram, Pabna is a repeat of the Ramu. First time it was tragic but now pure farce. Government’s inability to take action against the culprits of Ramu has invited more such acts: a group of people distributed photocopies of a facebook page claiming a Hindu boy, Rajib Saha, had maligned Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in the page, and soon dozens of people stormed Rajib Saha’s house and assaulted his family members. The rage subsides but not before 25 homesteads and 2 Hindu Temples were vandalised.
It is a horrific betrayal of memory. No one took a little pause to ask whether or nor it was fake. How did they forget the incident of Ramu where the whole destruction had been plotted on a fake facebook post?
The trend is alarming. It is also an organised anarchy in the line of Ramu, and, unfortunately, it is gaining ground in public. If we look into the incident carefully, we will find people from nearby villages believed in the rumour, joined the frenzy and blocked the highway for five hours. Why? To keep the police refrained from taking action against the culprits.
The monster of communalism is back. It is gaining strength exploiting the broils between the two political parties.
The first victim of communalism is truth. Here, truth is what people like to believe.
In the name of communal interest, all sorts of violation of norms are permitted, well accepted even hailed! Killing becomes religiosity, killer becomes martyr! In Bonogram’s case, extortionists became defender of faith!
In case of any attack against minority, there is always a hidden agenda that has nothing do with upholding religion or faith. In Bonogram, it is extortion. In Hill Tracts, it is land grabbing. In Ramu, it is political mileage. Use of religion in politics creates fertile ground for such communal adventures.
Now come to the present situation of Bonogram. Police said the situation is under control. So then why Poritosh Kumar, a resident of Bonogram Sahapara, would say in anguish, “We know who attacked and vandalised our houses”? He did not to mention any name.
The government should conduct a thorough investigation and find out the real culprits. Do not play with the investigation process like Ramu where 364 people were included in the charge sheet except the identified criminals. Incarceration of innocent people only worsens the situation.
It is regrettable, why does not any progressive force stand out against such barbarity. Has the atrociousness of the incident taken our breath away? ( The DS,5 Nov 2013)

The daily Star:: Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nov 2 Attack at Bonogram

Hindu houses looted in planned way: Probe body

Four more held, victims still worried about security

Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu, Pabna

Police on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning arrested four more accused in the three cases filed for November 2 attack on Hindu houses at Sahapara and Ghoshpara of Bonogram village in Santhia upazila under the district.
A group of youths attacked and looted houses of Hindus in the area after creating sensation by saying that one Rajib Saha maligned Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in a Facebook page.
“A total of 16 accused have so far been arrested in connection with the incident. Of them one has already made confessional statement,” said Abu Bakar Siddik, assistant superintendent of police in Pabna.
Meanwhile the investigation committee headed by Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Munshi Moniruzzaman submitted the probe report to the deputy commissioner of Pabna yesterday.
Criminals and extortionists attacked Hindu families in a planned way to loot the houses, said the probe report that mentioned names of 15/16 criminals and extortionists along with the masterminds of the incident.
The inquiry report recommended arresting all of them and also investigation into the Facebook page by BTRC and CID experts, removing timbers beside the highway to prevent road blockade and remaining cautious about the use of the mikes of mosques, said the probe committee chief.
Of the three cases filed after the incident, the one filed by Babul Saha has been handed over to the Detective Branch (DB) of police and the DB has already started investigation, said Pabna Superintendent of Police (SP) Md Miraz Uddin Ahmed.
Amid the tight security of law enforcing agencies, the victims at Bonogram are repairing their houses.
Visiting the residence of Babul Saha at Bonogram yesterday, this correspondent saw two workers repairing his house.
“We have returned as the police are deployed nearby. But what will happen when there is no security?” said Shibani Saha, wife of Babul.
Expressing the same, Haripada Saha of the village said, “We would fell relieved if the criminals are punished.”
SP Miraz Uddin said the security arrangement by the law enforcers will continue as long as there is need and a police camp is going to be set up at Bonogram.

 The daily Star: Friday, November 15, 2013

Kacharipara Village in Kishoreganj Upazila of Nilphamari

Hindus in panic as land grabbers reappear

EAM Asaduzzaman, Nilphamari

People of Hindu community at Dakkhin Bahagli Kacharipara village in Bahagli union under Kishoreganj upazila are passing their days amid panic as a land grabbers’ syndicate is making forged land documents and filing false cases against them to force them to sell land at low prices.
In 2012, Hazi Noor Islam, a non-Bengali merchant of Saidpur municipality, started purchasing land in minority Hindu dominated village, to set up a jute mill, locals said.
Noor contacted with Mizanur Rahman Dulal, alleged leader of a local gang ‘Bojrang group’ to manage land on commission basis and the group comprising around 30 men, many of them accused in murder and mugging cases, started terrorising the unwilling land owners to force selling land at desired prices, they alleged.
Col (Rtd) Maruf Saqlain, local lawmaker from ruling Awami League, said, “To occupy the properties of local Hindus, the grabbers are harassing them by making forged land documents and filing false cases. I have directed the police and local administration to ensure security of the minority community.”
Octogenarian Dhirendranath Roy said early this year he filed a case in court after Bojranj’ group members equipped with lethal weapons came to forcibly occupy his land 82 decimals of land that he had purchased on registered document in year 1972.
“Hazi Noor and some Bojang members made a forged document on behalf of Hazi Noor,” he alleged.
Basudev Roy, 45, a local, said, “To create panic, land grabber syndicate filed 11 cases against members of 30 Hindu families on false charges of road dacoity, mugging, attempt to murder etc and Kishorganj thana police on May 13 arrest me and Pobitra Chandra, 30, and Joti Bhuson Chandra, 35, in a case. The court granted us bail after a week.”
Miscreants set fire to houses of Basudev Roy, Dhirendra and Narayan on May 19 night and Basudev’s wife Bobita Rani lodged a case against ‘Bojrang’ leader Mizanur Rahman Dulal, Zakir Hossain, manager of Hizi Noor, and others in this connection, locals said.
Police is still to submit charge sheet against the accused in the case but submitted charge sheet accusing the Hindus in three cases filed by men of Hazi Noor gong, they said.
Several locals including Asudev, Jintu, Ranjit, Narayan Chandra, Baloram and others said after publication of newspaper reports regarding grabbing of property of Hindus and harassment on them and local lawmaker Col (Rtd) Maruf Saqlain’s interference in the matter the grabbers remained silent for about six months.
“But on November 8, Hazi Noor along with ‘Bojrang’ leader Mizanur Rahman Dulal, Hazi Noor’s manager Zakir Hossain, and others again came to occupy their land and Mizanur threatened them with dire consequences when the political situation will change,” Basudev Roy said.
Contacted, Zakir Hossain said, “We had purchased land according to Hindu inheritance law. I am not aware of ‘Bojrang’ group. I had given Mizanur Rahman Dulal charge of purchasing land, as he is efficient in the work. Two groups of local Hindus are filing cases against each other.”
Mizanur denied his involvement with ‘Bojrang’ group and said, “I never threatened local Hindus.”
Hazi Noor Islam, said, “I wanted to purchase 12 acres of land in the said village to set up a big jute mill and have been able to buy seven acres so far. As dispute occurred regarding ownership of some lands, I filed a civil suit in the court. I must abide by court verdict even if it goes against me.”

The daily Star: Friday, November 15, 2013

Periscope

Our Men in Sathia

Ahmede Hussain

Secularism, Gangnam Style
There is no denying that classical secularism, born in the womb of European Renaissance with a call for the separation of state and religion, does not exist any more. Like any ideological belief, it has evolved and matured. At the same time, in practice, secularism differs from nation to nation. Ordinary Indians might have flirted with a party that believes in Hindu supremacy, but its democratic institutions have time and again shown its non-communal credentials. The pressure and reach of Christian lobbies in US politics is well known, yet, the country has remained a shining example of an egalitarian society, a country where you can become what you want to be, all you need is hard work and perseverance.
Things are a little different in Bangladesh. It has secularism as a guiding principle, and along with it stands Islam as the state religion. Use of religion in politics is heavy, so much so that the Awami League (AL), the country’s largest secular political party had once promised to legalise fatwa, knowing some might even be in conflict with the country’s secular judicial system. The recent blow has come when the government that it heads has suddenly decided to give approval to private kawmi madrasas certificates, which will make kawmi degrees equivalent to its secular counterpart. The move has clearly been aimed at appeasing some members of Hefazat-e-Islam (HI), which hogged the headlines by holding two mammoth gatherings in Dhaka’s business district last summer.
Strange it may sound, the AL has its fair share in the rise of the HI. The party has on numerous occasions offered the HI inducements, the extent of which has even included some parliamentary seats. It has emboldened the group, which saw it as an example of its growing muscle in the country’s politics.
Recent comments made by some senior AL leaders mean that even though the government has been successful in wiping out religious extremism from the country, religiosity in Bangladesh is increasing rapidly, so much so that the party in power has had to resort to religion (read Islam) to win votes. The Prime Minister in her last few speeches has not forgotten to mention that she is a practising Muslim, her days start with the morning prayers and she diligently recites from the Quran at every crack of dawn. It is indeed true that Sheikh Hasina is religious and seems to be well versed in Islamic jurisprudence. But, invoking Islam in a public meeting is not befitting of the chief of a secular political party, especially when she is the daughter of a great leader, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that is.
There is no denying the fact that religion gets a strong foothold in politics when politicians use it indiscriminately and a time comes when one fuels the other.
But make no mistake; HI is no Al-Qaeda. Its Hanafi strand of Islam is quite far away from the Salafi interpretation of the religion that works as Osama bin Laden and Co’s ideological backbone. Having said that, Bangladesh badly needs a strong buffer that will stand between the moderate Islam that its citizens practise and violent ideologies. We should never mix half-hearted secularism with election-time Islamism. It helps no-one.

Mithus across the Country
It has been front page news last week. The junior minister for Home was seen in his constituency in Sathia with a known criminal who only a few moons ago was allegedly seen attacking Hindus. This is sad.
We know the kind of oppression that the religious minority in this country had to go through during the last BNP’s government’s term in office. We only hoped that under the AL, things would be different. But with a heavy heart we have noticed that things have hardly changed. From the attack on Buddhist temples in Ramu to the incident in Sathia, Pabna, on many such disturbing occasions, AL leaders have allegedly joined hands with its BNP and Jamaat counterparts to attack homes and places of worship of religious minorities. What are we left with, then? Which party will we vote for to keep our Hindu, Buddhist and Christian brothers and sisters safe?
It is true that in most of the cases the attacks are criminals in nature, and they are given a religious flavour to drum up support in favour of such dastardly acts. But when goons like Mithu become ministers’ shadow companion, how and who are we to seek justice?

 

The daily Star: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toll for Hartal

Refusal leads to attack on Hindus

S Dilip Roy, Lalmonirhat

 

Villagers take an injured Hindu man to hospital at Satpatki Majhipara in Lalmonirhat yesterday. Villagers claimed that armed BNP men attacked 40 homes of the Hindus and looted valuables after the Hindus refused to be extorted by them. Photo: Star

At least 15 people, including six women, were injured when some BNP men stormed a Hindu village and vandalised and looted houses at Satpatki Majhipara under Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila yesterday.
Villagers complained that they came under attack as they refused to pay an extortion demand by the BNP men.
Traumatised by the violent attack, Hindu women and children of 125 families fled the village and took refuge in Muslim neighbours’ houses at a nearby village, said Jamir Uddin, officer-in-charge at Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station.
Armed with sharp local weapons, a gang of about 18 BNP men, led by local Chhatra Dal activist Shaon Islam, struck the village around 12:30pm. They ransacked about 40 houses and looted valuables from those, said witnesses.
Sensing the presence of police, the assailants left the scene around 1:30pm.
Of the injured, nine received treatment at Lalmonirhat Sadar Hospital.
On Sunday night, Shaon and his cohorts demanded Tk 5,000 from each of the 15 local fish traders for hartal expenses, which the traders could not entertain, said villager Narayan Chandra Das.
Villagers that night complained about the matter to local BNP leader Abdul Mazid Mandal, he added.
Infuriated over the complaint against him, Shaon stormed the village to take revenge on the Hindus.
Sexagenarian Sumitra Rani Roy said she was assaulted at her house as she tried to save her son Nikhil Chandra Roy from the cruelty of the attackers.
“Pro-hartal pickets beat up my son mercilessly in front of me, but I couldn’t do anything to save him,” she rued.
Mohona Rani Das, 55, said the attackers assaulted her, vandalised her house and looted assets, including a cash amount of Tk 30,000.
Contacted, general secretary of Mohendranagar union BNP Abdul Mazid Mandal admitted receiving the complaint for extortion by some BNP men.
He claimed that none of his party men were involved in the attack on the Hindu village. The BNP men must help the minority people to live peacefully, he added.
Additional police super (Lalmonirhat) Aslam Khan said they have already identified the perpetrators of the crime and were trying to nab the criminals.
A police platoon was deployed at the village in the evening to maintain law and order. No case was filed in this connection till 8:00pm yesterday.
Villager Chanchal Chandra Roy said he received threats from the attackers over the phone for not filing any case in this regard. http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/refusal-leads-to-attack-on-hindus/

US concerned over attacks on Hindus

Senior Correspondent,  bdnews24.com

Published: 2013-11-06 18:49:27.0 BdST Updated: 2013-11-06 18:57:53.0 BdST

The United States on Wednesday expressed its ‘deep concern’ over the recent attacks on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh and asked the government to “act authoritatively” to arrest the culprits.In a statement the US embassy in Dhaka also called upon all “those involved in these incidents to desist from abusing the rights of minorities”.It also asked all parties “to ensure they are stopped immediately and the perpetrators are held accountable”.Hindus came under attack in Pabna and Lalmonirhat districts this week during and before the opposition enforced 60-hour shutdown.

Condemning the attacks on Hindus, the US once again expressed its concern over the deaths and injuries in the ongoing political violence, particularly during the shutdowns, in the lead up to the upcoming general polls.

http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/11/06/us-concerned-over-attacks-on-hindus

 

 

The daily Star: Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stop attacks on Hindus

US calls for govt action

Diplomatic Correspondent

The United States expressed deep concern over the recent attacks on Hindus in Pabna and Lalmonirhat and asked the government to take action against the criminals and protect rights of minorities.
In a statement yesterday, the US embassy said, “We call on all those involved in these incidents to desist from abusing the rights of minorities, and ask all parties to ensure they are stopped immediately and the perpetrators are held accountable.
“We ask the Government of Bangladesh      to act authoritatively against those          who incited and committed this            violence and protect the rights of minorities.”
The US embassy further said they were also deeply concerned by the deaths, injuries, and ongoing violence associated with hartals.
“While engaging in peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right, we firmly believe violence is never the answer,” the statement added.
“We call on all parties to ensure that their protests are peaceful and we look to the Government of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of all its citizens and encourage all Bangladeshis to peacefully express their views,” said the statement.

 

The daily Star: Thursday, November 7, 2013

Govt-Opposition Dialogue

US still optimistic

Diplomatic Correspondent

US Congressman Steve Chabot expressed the hope of a dialogue between the ruling and the opposition parties saying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had not rejected the possibility of the dialogue.
“I met with opposition leader Khaleda Zia and conveyed the message to her [PM] that she [Khaleda] will be willing to meet the prime minister for dialogue. The prime minister did not reject it,” he said in a pre-departure press meet.
He expressed the hope of a peaceful solution to the current political crisis through a free, fair, transparent, credible and inclusive election.
Steve strongly urged the leadership of both the political parties to control their activists and supporters to stop violence.
He, however, made it clear that his country “will not tell Bangladesh what to do in the current political situation; it’s the people of Bangladesh who will decide what’s best for them”.
Warping up his two-day visit, Steve, who met  the PM yesterday morning, said the US wanted a free, fair, credible and participatory election in Bangladesh, but it did not support any violence under any circumstances.
In reply, according to PM’s Press Secretary Abdul Kalam Azad Hasina told the US Congressman that the upcoming general election would be held neutrally and peacefully as the Election Commission was independent and strong enough to do that.
Mentioning her phone call to the opposition leader for a dialogue calling off hartal, the premier regretted that the opposition leader did not respond to it. “As a result, at least 20 innocent people were killed during the shutdown,” the PM added.
Earlier, talking with a group of media persons at American Centre prior to his flight, Steve said their concern with politics in Bangladesh was “winner-takes-it-all attitudes” and the party in power did not care for others.
Sharing his views, he said, “The US situation is not dangerous like in Bangladesh. We the Democrats and the Republicans all time fight but do not physically.”
In Bangladesh one side wanted a caretaker government to oversee the election which had worked before, while other side wanted the elected representatives to run the election, he observed.
“Both the leaders can sit and make a solution… both leaders can talk either directly or through their representatives and can find out a solution… I am optimistic,” he said, adding, “I like to see improvement whoever comes to power through the election.”
Referring to his meetings with Hasina and Khaleda, he said, “I urged both sides to do everything and they have power to stop their supporters who are active in violence.”   There was too much violence in Bangladesh and too many innocent people were being injured or killed, he added.   “I encouraged both the sides to put emphasis on no violence. They [Hasina and Khaleda] are both strong leaders and intelligent as well. They should come out from the cumbersome situation,” he observed.  Replying to a question about the International Crimes Tribunals and the ongoing trial, the US Congressman said he had met with the law minister and also with the Jamaat leaders.  He said the US government’s position was that all individuals involved in any kind of atrocities or crimes against humanity should be held accountable and must be punished, but the trial should be free, open and transparent.

US wants free, fair polls in Bangladesh
DHAKA, Nov 6, 2013 (BSS)- The United States wants free, fair, credible and participatory elections in Bangladesh but it does not support any violence in any circumstances.

The visiting US Congressman and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Sub-committee of the US House on Asia and the Pacific, Steve Chabot, expressed this view when he called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office here this morning.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed reporters.

The US congressman termed the existing ties between Bangladesh and the USA as excellent and hoped that it would further be strengthened in the days to come.

In response, the Prime Minister said her government wants to maintain the continuity of democratic process as desired development of the country could not be possible without it.

In this context, she mentioned her phone call to the leader of the opposition for the dialogue to solve the problems but she said Begum Khaleda Zia did not respond to the offer. As a result over 20 innocent people were killed during the hartal, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said the Election Commission is thoroughly independent and strong and mentioned that about 6,000 elections
were held in a free, fair and neutral manner without any
interference of the ruling party.

“Opposition candidates won in many cases and there were no allegations about the poll results,” she said, expressing hope that the next general elections will also be held neutrally and peacefully in the country.

In this connection, Sheikh Hasina mentioned the election violence during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government saying that over 200 people were killed in the violence during union parishad polls at that time.

She said the judiciary is fully independent, so there is no scope of any interference by anybody.

The Prime Minister said the image of the country was tarnished during the five-year rule of the BNP-Jamaat government as Bangladesh was turned into a safe haven for terrorists and militants.

In this regard, she mentioned synchronized bomb blasts at 500 places of 63 districts across the country in 2005, the grisly grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21 in 2004, the grenade attack on UK High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury and killing of veteran politicians like Shah AMS Kibria and Ahsanullah Master.

But she said her government brightened and restored the image of the country by containing militancy and terrorism with an iron hand during the last four years and 10 months.

Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her politics is to free the country from the curse of poverty. “We have been implementing various programmes to achieve the goal,” she said.

As a result of various realistic measures of the government including expansion of social safety net programme, she said, poverty has been reduced to below 26 percent, while over five crore people have been graduated to middle income group from low income group.

The haunted Hindus of Santhia

Saleem Samad in Santhia, Pabna,  bdnews24.com

Published: 2013-11-11 08:50:46.0 BdST Updated: 2013-11-11 13:08:39.0 BdST

Previous Next

As she loiters past damaged houses in Sahaparha village, 5-year old ‘Orgho’ fumes over her smashed water mug, plastic chair and, most loudly, about the damaged television in her house.

She blames the Nov 2 mayhem on Kali Puja day on ‘dustu chelera’ (naughty boys).Her mother is cautious, as she recollects how she hid in a smelly toilet for three hours to escape an armed mob of fanatic Muslims.
A part of her house was smashed to smithereens.The State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku had gathered at Karamjat madrasa ground to thwart Opposition protests, barely 10 kilometres from Bongram bazaar at Santhia.
That was just before the Muslim mob, fuming over a reported Facebook posting denigrating Prophet Muhammad, went on an orgy of violence in Santhia.Sahaparha was one of the worst affected because the Facebook posting was blamed on Rajib Saha, a resident of the village.The conspirators deliberately chose Saturday, a weekly haat-bazaar day.On the day hundreds of photocopies of an alleged Facebook posting were distributed, indicating that Rajib Saha had insulted the Prophet.The distribution left Muslims of all parties inflamed.What followed was hours of violence in which atleast 40 Hindu homes were ravaged.The young women are yet to return to villages, as fear grips the Hindus in the area.

 

They are worried because those suspected of perpetrating the mayhem have not been arrested.

Worse, the Hindus now suspect that many who made up the violent mob enjoy protection of senior Awami League politicians including local MP and State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku.This is what has shocked them most — how could those attacking them enjoy Awami League protection!

Tuku has also been blamed for letting the police on Awami League dissidents close to senior leader Prof Abu Sayeed, one time close confidante of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

But what about the alleged Facebook posting!

Like many similar so-called Facebook postings that inflamed Muslims and led to anti-minority violence elsewhere in the country like Ramu, this one allegedly by Rajib Saha also appeared a complete fake.Journalists in Pabna argued that the photocopy of the Facebook ostensibly posted by Rajib was ‘photoshopped’ from a fake account “Innocent Rajib”.Much like the alleged Facebook posting at Ramu in Cox’s Bazar in September last year, in which hundreds of Buddhist homes were vandalised and scores of pagodas desecrated.

The miscreants in both Ramu and Santhia seem to have lost no time to loot valuables and cash in the second wave of violence following the initial fury.Superintendent of Police (SP) of Pabna Mirajuddin Ahmed promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.But he was quick to add that the attackers had not been identified. Except for those who spoke to Rajib’s father Babul Saha in the morning.Have the conspirators been arrested? ‘No,’ said Babul Saha who filed the case with police.Ataikula Police Station OC Rezaul Karim claims they have arrested several of the suspects. Three cases have been lodged including one by police for obstruction to perform duty.

 

Police officials told visiting civil society groups, rights activists and journalists that those named by Babul Saha have been arrested.

But Saha said he had only heard of the arrests and was not able to confirm them.Deputy Commissioner of Pabna Ashraf Uddin explained it was a ‘police matter’ and progressing “very well”.But he said the civil administration had nothing much to do, except for initiating a confidence-building process after the violence.The victims of Bonogram, Sahaparha and Goshparha have rejected the district administration’s offer of relief of 30 sacks of rice (each weighing 28 kg).Rajib’s uncle Kartick Saha says they need protection, not rice which they can afford to buy.
Like the Buddhists in Ramu, the Hindus in Santhia want the government to compensate them for the damaged temples to facilitate reconstruction.A RAB platoon and two platoons of armed police have been deployed in Santhia. Police presence, says the SP, will deter a repeat of Nov 2.He added a permanent police camp will be established there.Local journalists say minister Tuku received news of violence in 10 minutes. But he did not do enough to protect the Hindus.A small police contingent arrived within 30 minutes after desperate phone calls from Babul Saha.But the larger force of police and RAB came only after three hours of intense violence, the elders complain.

 

Most Hindu elders do not remember when they had faced violence like they did on Nov 2.Some recollect violence during 1971 by marauding Pakistan army and their local collaborators.As most Hindus here had fled to India for safety, they did not have any direct experience of violence — not until Nov 2.Like other planned attacks on religious minorities elsewhere in Bangladesh, the perpetrators targeted the house of worship to break the morale of the minorities.It is a pattern that has often been repeated — at Taindong (Khagrhachharhi), Ramu and Ukhia (Cox’s Bazar), Sathkira, Begumganj, Gaibanda, Lalmonirhat and other places.But the biggest worry — leaders of all political parties belonging to the majority community, despite their political differences, seem to take the same line of connivance or indifference when minorities are attacked.(Saleem Samad, a senior journalist, is a freelance contributor to bdnews24.com)

 

DHAKA, November 30, 2013

Updated: November 30, 2013 08:48 IST

‘Hindus come under attack in Bangladesh’

Haroon Habib

The minority Hindus came under attack, allegedly by activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its students wing, in Patgram, northern Lalmonirhat district, for the second time in a month, major Bangladesh newspapers reported on Friday .

The attackers beat up women and children and torched and looted at least five shops and two houses at Ghoshpara village on the third day of the opposition-sponsored 71-hour blockade, said the dailies quoting police and eyewitnesses .

The incident fuelled concerns over a fresh spell of attacks on the minority members as men of the village have fled in fear.

No reason

Minority leaders alleged that the villages had come under attack for no specific reason. However, local union Parishad Chairman Ruhul Amin Babul said, taking the advantage of countrywide blockade they attacked the Hindus who do not belong to any political party. “They did so to create panic in the area and use that to their advantage,” the chairman concluded.

Another Hindu-populated village Shafinagar under the same district also came under attack allegedly by BNP and Jamaat-Shibir men on October 27, the first day of the opposition-called shutdown. The vandals beat 12 women as the males fled the scene.

Quoting police and eyewitnesses, newspapers said about 200 to 250 Jamaat-Shibir activists led by Shibir leader Rana Islam brought out a procession in the area and swooped on Hindus’ shops and houses. A number of aggrieved villagers alleged that some local Awami League men, too, were responsible for inciting the violence.

The daily Star Published: Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lalmonirhat

Fear of another Jamaat attack haunts Hindus

Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat

Fears of recurrence of attacks continue to haunt Hindus of Lalmonirhat’s Patgram upazila despite the return of the male family members, the filing of a case and deployment of additional police.
On Thursday, at least 12 women and children were beaten up and at least five shops and two houses were torched and looted allegedly by Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir activists at Ghoshpara village of Jongra union.
Taking place on the third day of the opposition-sponsored 71-hour blockade, the attack, the second one on Lalmonirhat Hindus by opposition activists, had prompted several male members of at least 23 Hindu families to flee the village.
“We are still fearful as the area is covered with Jamaat-Shibir men and they always have a hatred towards Hindus…They will become angrier if police make arrests,” one of the victims, Shilpi Rani Ghosh, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Nazrul Islam, member of local Union Parishad and former president of Shibir of Patgram upazila, has been arrested while police claimed they were conducting drives to arrest the rest.
Another victim, Subhas Chandra Ghosh, said, “We are innocent people…we are not involved in politics and have no enmity with anybody here over anything but still we were victimised…I do not know what will happen in the future.”
On the previous November 4 assault, the attackers had vandalised and looted several houses after villagers at Satpatki Majhipara in Sadar upazila had refused extortionists.
The case was filed by one victim, Dhanjit Ghosh Tapos, with Patgram Police Station, accusing three local Jamaat-Shibir men and 50 unnamed persons.
Expressing deep concern, Ain o Salish Kendra sent a letter to the Inspector General of Police on Thursday noon urging the perpetrators’ arrest.http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/fear-of-another-jamaat-attack-haunts-hindus/

Bangladesh- Violence Wracks Pre-Election Period

Government, Opposition Leaders Should Act to End Abuses

December 4, 2013

“With election sentiments at the bursting point, Bangladeshi security forces need to overcome their long history of using unlawful force against opposition protesters and respond in a way that is professional and non-partisan. The ruling Awami League should remember the mistreatment suffered by its supporters when they were in the opposition and ensure that law enforcement agencies act within the law.”

Brad Adams, Asia director

(New York) –Violence by opposition protesters and excessive force by state security forces need to end in Bangladesh, with national elections scheduled for January 5, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. The opposition party alliance led by the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) has held large-scale and often violent protests throughout the country for weeks, and security forces have at times responded with excessive force.

On December 4, 2013, a member of the opposition Jubo Dal party was killed in a clash with security forces, with initial reports suggesting that at least 50 other people were seriously injured in the incident. Credible reports suggest that at least 40 people, including bystanders, have been killed during protests. The Bangladeshi human rights organization Odhikar estimates that more than 4,000 people were injured during protests in November alone, and that the security forces were responsible for at least 5 deaths.

“With election sentiments at the bursting point, Bangladeshi security forces need to overcome their long history of using unlawful force against opposition protesters and respond in a way that is professional and non-partisan.” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The ruling Awami League should remember the mistreatment suffered by its supporters when they were in the opposition and ensure that law enforcement agencies act within the law.”

Political party and protest leaders should act to prevent violence by their supporters, including against the security forces. The security forces should respond to protests in accordance with international law enforcement standards, only using force when strictly necessary. The BNP has said it will boycott the elections unless a neutral caretaker government is appointed to oversee the voting process. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League have rejected calls for a caretaker government, promising instead an all-party government with itself at the helm during the pre-election period.

Protesters have been responsible for the majority of deaths and injuries during the demonstrations. There are credible reports that bombs hurled by protesters injured at least four children. A number of security force personnel have been injured, and several police and a member of the Border Guards Bangladesh have been killed, according to independent reporters.

On November 28, for instance, unidentified protesters hurled a gasoline bomb into a crowded public bus in the Shahbagh neighborhood of Dhaka, trapping passengers inside. Witnesses described seeing passengers, some in flames, jumping desperately out of the bus windows. At least three people died, including a teenager, and an estimated 20 others suffered serious burns. The Awami League and the BNP each quickly blamed the other for the attack.

On December 4, opposition protesters derailed three passenger train carriages in Gaibandha district, killing at least three passengers and trapping dozens of others. Journalists reported that about 40 people were injured, about 5 seriously. The government blamed the Jamaat-e-Islaami party, which is allied with the BNP, for the attack, and arrested two of its members. Opposition parties have yet to comment about, let alone condemn, the attack on the train.

“Opposition leaders not only shouldn’t be inciting violence, but they have a responsibility to do all they can to keep their protests peaceful,” Adams said. “When their members commit crimes, political leaders need to cooperate with the authorities to ensure those responsible are promptly apprehended.”

Spokespeople for the police and the Border Guards Bangladesh have confirmed firing shots at protesters in many incidents across the country, but have not made public the numbers of those who have died or been injured. Independent journalists report seeing security forces use teargas and live rounds to disperse protests.

The Bangladeshi authorities are obligated to investigate violence by protesters and the unlawful use of force by security forces thoroughly and impartially, and to prosecute those responsible for carrying out or ordering such acts.  In the past, the government has taken no action even in cases of well-documented unlawful killings by the security forces during protests.

The government should publicly order the security forces to follow the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which state that security forces shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.”The United Nation’s human rights chief, Navi Pillay, on December 1 issued a stern warning to all the parties against political violence and its legal consequences. Various governments have called on Bangladesh’s political leaders to ensure an end to violence.“The leaders of the Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party need to take urgent steps to avoid further deaths and abuses,” Adams said. “Pre-election violence has already cost too many lives in Bangladesh. Only responsible leadership can bring an end to this senseless loss of life. http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/12/04/bangladesh-violence-wracks-pre-election-period

 

The daily Star: Friday, December 13, 2013

Butcher of Mirpur hanged

Mollah first to walk gallows for war crimes 42 years back, to be buried at Faridpur village home under police protection

He didn’t wince once, neither did his heart skip a beat when he led his men to thrash a two-year-old child to death and slit the throats of a pregnant woman and two minor girls.
Around 42 years later, Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah finally had to pay for these acts of cold-blooded savagery, as he walked the gallows at 10:01pm in the first-ever execution in a war crimes case.
The hanging of Mollah, 65, who earned the nickname Mirpurer Koshai (butcher of Mirpur) for his sinister role during the Liberation War, represents a watershed in the nation’s pursuit of a closure on the wounds inflicted in 1971.
Mollah’s body would be taken to his ancestral home at Sadarpur upazila in Faridpur for burial under police protection, Abu Hena Morshed Zaman, deputy commissioner of Faridpur, told The Daily Star at 10:15pm.
He was executed at the Dhaka Central Jail hours after the Supreme Court rejected his petition to review the death sentence, bringing an end to the drama that played out for two days since Tuesday evening.
Mollah’s counsels took out an order from the SC chamber judge to stay his execution on Tuesday night, only one and a half hours before the convicted war criminal was to hang at 12:01am.
The SC yesterday rejected Mollah’s plea for reviewing his death sentence, clearing the way for executing the condemned war criminal.
In his instant reaction after the execution, Shafiuddin Mollah, who testified against the Jamaat leader, told The Daily Star, “We are very happy. The grief and agony that have haunted us for the last 42 years will go away to a great extent.”
Shafiuddin, who lost his paternal uncle in a massacre at Alubdi village in Mirpur, said they would feel happier when all 1971 war criminals will get their due punishment.
He thanked the prime minister and all pro-Liberation War forces for their continuous efforts to bring the war criminals to justice.

Mollah, who was then a leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, later renamed Islami Chhatra Shibir, never repented of the war crimes he committed 42 years ago. His party also never regretted its role during the Liberation War.
Driven by his deep political conviction that Pakistan should remain united even at the cost of one of the worst genocides in the world, he had targeted freedom-loving Bangalees and led his gang in at least two mass killings in Keraniganj near Dhaka and Mirpur, taking the lives of around 400 unarmed Bangalees.
Mollah, assistant general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami, was finally shown arrested in a war crimes case on August 2, 2010 after enjoying impunity under the auspices of the Jamaat and the BNP.
He was then put on trial and awarded life term by the International Crimes Tribunal-2 on February 5 this year.
But the “lenient” sentencing gave birth to the never-seen-before Shahbagh movement that demanded maximum punishment for the war criminals.
The movement prompted the government to amend the relevant act to ensure the state’s right to appeal on behalf of the victims of the 1971 war crimes.
As the government appealed against the verdict, the Supreme Court on September 17 sentenced Mollah to death, overruling the ICT-2 judgment.
The countdown to Mollah’s execution started soon after the ICT-2 sent the death warrant to the authorities of Dhaka Central Jail on December 8. But confusion arose over the date of execution as the defence lawyers claimed that their client had the right to seek review of the SC verdict.
On Tuesday, State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam said according to the constitution, Mollah had no right to file any review petition, since he had been convicted and sentenced to death under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973.
Things started to change quickly on Tuesday evening when the jail authorities asked Mollah’s family members to meet him at 8:00pm, giving rise to speculations that the Jamaat leader would be hanged that night.
Mollah’s counsels then rushed to the residence of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, chamber judge of the SC, who stayed Mollah’s execution.
A five-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain, dismissed Mollah’s review petition yesterday on completion of a hearing on the maintainability of the petition.
Unhappy at the ruling, pro-Jamaat lawyers demonstrated at the SC premises, while pro-Awami League lawyers chanted slogans hailing the decision.
Hundreds of people, especially youths, rushed to Gonojagoron Manch at Shahbagh to celebrate the court ruling.
Mollah’s nine family members, including his wife Sanowara Jahan, met him inside the Dhaka Central Jail around 6:25pm yesterday on permission from the jail authorities.
On December 17, 2007, freedom fighter Mozaffar Ahmad Khan of Keraniganj filed a case against nine Jamaat leaders, including Mollah, on the charge of killing two freedom fighters in 1971.
But the justice seekers had to wait until the Awami League-led government formed the ICT on March 25 in 2010 as part of its electoral pledges.
On May 28, last year, the tribunal framed six charges that include: the killing of Mirpur Bangla College student Pallab; the killing of the poet Meherunesa, her mother and two brothers; the killing of journalist Khandker Abu Taleb; a mass killing in Ghatarchar of Keraniganj; the killing of 344 people in Alubdi village in Mirpur; and the killing of Hazrat Ali Laskar, his wife, three daughters and two-year-old son.
The ICT-2 found Mollah guilty on five charges and acquitted him on one charge related to the Ghatarchar killing, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. But the Supreme Court found him guilty on all charges and awarded him death for killing Hazrat Laskar and his family members.http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/butcher-of-mirpur-hanged/

The daily Star: Friday, December 13, 2013

Justice triumphs, freedom wins

Syed Badrul Ahsan

An execution is no cause for cheer, but a reason for reflection. And when a war criminal, convicted and sentenced through due process, takes those final steps of life to the gallows, the collective prayer is one, and only one: that such criminality does not recur, that men like him do not walk the earth again.
This morning, in this people’s republic preparing to observe yet one more anniversary of its liberation, the knowledge that justice has finally caught up with Abdul Quader Mollah, that for the first time in the forty two years we have spent, so far, in freedom a collaborator of the Pakistan occupation army, indeed a war criminal, has met his due end only reminds us of what we must yet do to preserve our self-esteem as a nation.
These forty two years have been symbolic of deep, penetrating pain for this nation for the very grave reason that we have seen the murderers of our compatriots — intellectuals, professionals, freedom fighters, citizens across the board — strut in all their hubris across a land they once tried to abort at birth. Now that justice has been done in Mollah’s case and will be done in the matter of others of his kind, it is time for the 160 million people of Bangladesh to inform the souls of our martyrs that we remember their supreme sacrifices, to let their pained families know that those who murdered their loved ones will pay the wages of their sins.
We happen to be living through times fraught with new terrorism, set in motion by the old forces of darkness in tandem with those who saw nothing wrong in rehabilitating the perpetrators of genocide, nothing amiss in having them walk the corridors of power. There is arson that leads to people being burned to death; there are criminals wickedly pulling out rail tracks and setting moving buses on fire; there are politicians who call for democratic elections and yet will not condemn the ancient criminality of the ageing collaborators and their frenzied followers. It goes to the credit of the nation that through all these troubled times, it has refused to forget its history. It has not ignored the need for justice because it knows that it owes its present and its future to those whom the war criminals and the foreign enemy they were beholden to murdered all those decades ago.
There were people who once stated glibly that the war criminals could not be tried. When the trials commenced, they said the war criminals could not be convicted. When the convictions came, they were certain the sentences could not be carried out. Now, with Mollah having his comeuppance, there is hope that those others who perpetrated all those crimes against humanity in the nine months of our twilight struggle against Pakistan’s war machine will walk the same path to the platform of justice.
This morning, we remember yet once more the innumerable men and women done to death by Mollah and his gang, indeed by his fellow war criminals and their masters in the occupation army. And we inform the world that Mollah died for reasons that were as valid in Dhaka as they were in Nuremberg and in Tokyo decades ago.
Today, we do not gloat over Mollah’s execution. But we do expect some crucial lessons of history to be learned from his sorry end — that freedom always wins, that repression does not last, that the wheels of justice may turn slowly but turn they certainly do.
We salute our three million martyrs — we do obeisance to the founding fathers of our sovereign republic — we rededicate ourselves anew to the cause of a democratic, liberal and secular Bangladesh once more in this dawn of triumphant justice.

The daily Star: Friday, December 13, 2013

Editorial

Justice after forty- two years

Genocide perpetrators answer to history

THE wheels of justice have turned full circle. One of the cohorts of the Pakistan occupation army, a collaborator in their crimes and nine-months of brutality in Bangladesh in 1971, and himself a perpetrator, met his deserved fate. It would be some solace to the relatives of the victims to see that justice will have been done, albeit delayed.
With the hanging of Quader Mollah the trial of one of the accused in the crimes against humanity will have run its full course. In what was one of the most transparent and open trials, where the accused was given all the facilities to defend himself, something he did not accord to his many victims, and where all the legal procedures provided in the Constitution, including appeal, were made available to him, the sentence of death was awarded by the highest court of the country. That will, we hope, answer the critics and detractors of the trial about the clarity of the entire process.
We congratulate Sheikh Hasina and her government for not only starting the trial after long 40 years of the commission of the crimes but also executing the final verdict of the court in one instance; that, notwithstanding the dubious attempts by some quarters to malign the trial and make it controversial.
It was the aspiration of the people to see that the war criminals are given the highest punishment, and it would be unfair to the many victims of these criminals and to the martyred freedom fighters to see the execution as a revenge or retribution.

Fear of further violence grips people

Joint drives of law enforcers have stopped widespread Jamaat-Shibir violence in Satkhira for the time being and people fear the top Jamaat leaders of the district would instigate violence again as they remain at large.
Even high officials who led the joint drives admit that they could not make any significant arrests as the people who allegedly instigated the violence had fled the district.
Locals and Awami League leaders say that Jamaat-Shibir would wreak havoc again soon after the drives stop and there were instances of retaliation from the ruling party activists too.
In the last 31 days at least 10 Awami League leaders and workers were killed and more than 70 houses and businesses of Hindus and Awami Leaguers were torched, vandalised and looted. An Awami Leaguer’s child was abducted and shot in the head and a woman was killed when Jamaat-Shibir men chopped down a tree to block a road and the tree fell on her.
Several hundred Hindus and Awami Leaguers had to flee their homes.
After the joint drive began on December 15, Jamaat-Shibir men stabbed an elderly Awami  League leader to death in Kaliganj upazila and in the last couple of days, at least a dozen houses and shops owned by opposition and Jamaat men were either torched or vandalised at Gabinda Kathi Bazar and Nalta Bazar in the upazila.
Many fear the situation would worsen as people have started taking revenge.
Golam Mostafa, district Awami League member and Debhata upazila chairman, said, “As long as the top brass of Jamaat-Shibir in Satkhira remain out of the dragnet, long-term peace would not be possible.”
He believes that the administration lacked sincerity in arresting the people involved in violence.
A teacher wishing anonymity said, “Before any raid, police informed Jamaat-Shibir leaders beforehand allowing the criminals to hide.”
Denying the allegations, Additional Superintendent of Police Joydev Chowdhury of Satkhira said there might have been a few instances where the joint forces did not make any arrests due to small number of personnel conducting a drive and a large number of people resisting them.
Many claimed that law enforcers did not take strong action and had just picked up a few “innocent” people leaving the real culprits alone.
Lawyer Shyamol Kumar Ghosal of Agardari village said numerous cases were filed in connection with felling trees and many innocent people were implicated.
Violence dominated the district at the south-western edge of the country since February when Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity.
Satkhira Awami League joint secretary Sheikh Shaheed Uddin blamed the lack party activities for this. He said during the last five years party activists were more interested in making money rather than carrying on party activities. He claimed that this had resulted in many people siding with Jamaat-Shibir. He said vigorous party activities were needed.http://www.thedailystar.net/fear-of-further-violence-grips-people-3450

Attack On Hindus

‘Instigator’ arrested

Our Correspondent, Lalmonirhat

One of the instigators of November 4 attack on Hindu families in a Lalmonirhat village was arrested Friday night, claim police.
After the round-up, anonymous callers issued fresh threats to the community over the phone.
On information, police arrested Hamidul Islam from his residence at Satpatki village in  Mohendranagar union of Lalmonirhat Sadar.
Hamidul was one of the main instigators of the attack, police said.
Though Hamidul was not directly involved in BNP politics, he was a supporter of the party, said Abdul Mazid, BNP general secretary of the union.
On November 4, a gang of local miscreants led by Shaon Islam, the mastermind behind the attack, stormed at least forty Hindu households in the village, and vandalised and looted four of them, leaving at least 15 people, including six women, injured.The attack was carried out as the local Hindus refused to pay toll, police and the locals said.
The locals said Hamidul and his men used to collect toll from them by issuing threats.
The perpetrators went into hiding after a case was filed with Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station on the same night, said Sub-Inspector (SI) Asaduzzaman, also investigation officer (IO) of the case.
Since then police have been after the criminals, he added.
Meanwhile, the local Hindus said, they were receiving threats over the phone after Hamidul’s arrest.
Nikhil Chandra Roy, the plaintiff of the case, said: “I have been receiving life threat from unknown persons over the phone after Hamidul’s arrest since Friday night. I have been warned of dire consequences if I don’t withdraw the case immediately.” Police had been informed of the threat, he added.
The IO said they would ensure security of the Hindus in the village.http://www.thedailystar.net/instigator-arrested-3453

Jamaat Atrocity

Hindus, AL men desert homes

Several hundred Hindus and ruling Awami League leaders of Satkhira have been fleeing their homes over the last few days in the wake of massive violence unleashed by Jamaat-Shibir men in the district.
Residents of at least eight unions in different upazilas of the district are the worst sufferers of the violence.
Bishwajit Sadhu, district unit president of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Oikya Parishad, said around 200 to 250 solvent Hindu people from affected remote villages had left their homes and taken refuge in the district town, Khulna and the capital. Some had even moved to India through legal or illegal means.
He said they were yet to prepare a list of the affected people.
The people of the minority community are fleeing, as their houses came under attacks by Jamaat-Shibir men who have been engaged in clashes with law enforcers since the International Crimes Tribunal awarded death sentence to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee in February.
The situation became worse after the tribunal, set up to deal with crimes against humanity committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971, had handed down capital punishment to another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah and after his execution on December 12.
To handle the situation, law enforcement agencies have launched a joint drive in the district from Sunday to restore law and order. However, this has not proved to be enough to remove the security concern among the minority people.
Satkhira Superintendent of Police Chowdhury Manjurul Kabir is, however, hopeful that the situation would improve within a few days.
Meanwhile, Shyamol Kumar Ghosal of Agardari village under sadar upazila told The Daily Star, “I am not thinking of returning home as the situation there is still horrible.”
He gave names of at least five Jamaat-Shibir men who had looted and burnt houses and business establishments of Hindus in Agardari union. He said some of the Hindu people had faced attacks twice.
One of the worst victims of the village is Shyamol’s uncle Gopal Chandra Ghosal. His house came under attack immediately after the appeal verdict of war criminal Quader Mollah was delivered on November 26.
Around 60 masked men from nearby villages stormed his house and took away his TV, refrigerator and some furniture, and set those on fire. They also took two motorbikes of the family and set one of them alight and vandalised the other.
The attackers also wanted to slaughter Gopal and one of his grandsons but finally spared them after women of the house begged for mercy.
His nephew Shyamol, a lawyer by profession, said many Hindu families had sent their women and children to safe places while a few men stayed back to guard their houses.
Seeking anonymity, many Hindus of Agardari village told The Daily Star that their faith in religious harmony was shaken on the night of December 12, hours after Quader Mollah had been executed.
They said Jamaat-Shibir men had attacked many houses that night. They had also assaulted many Hindu people and vandalised their houses.
Subhash Chandra Ghosh, president of Zila Puja Celebration Committee and a former leader of Debhata Muktijuddho Command Council, is also among the worst victims of Jamaat atrocities.
In the morning after Mollah’s execution, around 100 Jamaat-Shibir men set ablaze his two-storey building in Debishahar village. Three of the five brothers of the family used to live there with their wives and children.
The flames gutted everything on the ground floor and partially damaged the belongings on the first floor. Jamaat-Shibir men had also torched three motorcycles, snapped the water-supply line and looted 30 tolas of gold ornaments from the house, said his younger brother Sarat Chandra Ghosh.
He said, “My elder brother [Subhash] and I are now staying in Dhaka while 12 of our family members have taken shelter at our relatives’ houses.”
Narrating the December 13 arson attack by Jamaat-Shibir activists on his house in Kulia village, Debhata upazila parishad chairman and district Awami League leader Golam Mostafa said his 80-year-old mother had implored the attackers not to set the house on fire as Mostafa had done nothing to harm them.
In reply, the attackers told her that they were carrying out the directives of their high-ups.
The activists also vandalised and set on flames the house of Debhata upazila AL president Mujibur Rahman that night.
A large number of ruling party men are living away from their houses fearing attacks on their families. At least 10 AL leaders and activists were killed in the last 30 days.
No less than 70 houses and business establishments of the Hindu community and AL men came under Jamaat-Shibir attacks during this time.
Feroz Ahmed, organising secretary of the district unit AL, said several hundred leaders and activists of the party were hiding fearing attacks.(Our Satkhira correspondent contributed to the report.)http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/hindus-al-men-desert-homes-3442

 

The daily Star: Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jamaat Atrocity

Hindus, AL men desert homes

Several hundred Hindus and ruling Awami League leaders of Satkhira have been fleeing their homes over the last few days in the wake of massive violence unleashed by Jamaat-Shibir men in the district.
Residents of at least eight unions in different upazilas of the district are the worst sufferers of the violence.
Bishwajit Sadhu, district unit president of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Oikya Parishad, said around 200 to 250 solvent Hindu people from affected remote villages had left their homes and taken refuge in the district town, Khulna and the capital. Some had even moved to India through legal or illegal means.
He said they were yet to prepare a list of the affected people.
The people of the minority community are fleeing, as their houses came under attacks by Jamaat-Shibir men who have been engaged in clashes with law enforcers since the International Crimes Tribunal awarded death sentence to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee in February.
The situation became worse after the tribunal, set up to deal with crimes against humanity committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971, had handed down capital punishment to another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah and after his execution on December 12.
To handle the situation, law enforcement agencies have launched a joint drive in the district from Sunday to restore law and order. However, this has not proved to be enough to remove the security concern among the minority people.
Satkhira Superintendent of Police Chowdhury Manjurul Kabir is, however, hopeful that the situation would improve within a few days.
Meanwhile, Shyamol Kumar Ghosal of Agardari village under sadar upazila told The Daily Star, “I am not thinking of returning home as the situation there is still horrible.”
He gave names of at least five Jamaat-Shibir men who had looted and burnt houses and business establishments of Hindus in Agardari union. He said some of the Hindu people had faced attacks twice.
One of the worst victims of the village is Shyamol’s uncle Gopal Chandra Ghosal. His house came under attack immediately after the appeal verdict of war criminal Quader Mollah was delivered on November 26.
Around 60 masked men from nearby villages stormed his house and took away his TV, refrigerator and some furniture, and set those on fire. They also took two motorbikes of the family and set one of them alight and vandalised the other.
The attackers also wanted to slaughter Gopal and one of his grandsons but finally spared them after women of the house begged for mercy.
His nephew Shyamol, a lawyer by profession, said many Hindu families had sent their women and children to safe places while a few men stayed back to guard their houses.
Seeking anonymity, many Hindus of Agardari village told The Daily Star that their faith in religious harmony was shaken on the night of December 12, hours after Quader Mollah had been executed.
They said Jamaat-Shibir men had attacked many houses that night. They had also assaulted many Hindu people and vandalised their houses.
Subhash Chandra Ghosh, president of Zila Puja Celebration Committee and a former leader of Debhata Muktijuddho Command Council, is also among the worst victims of Jamaat atrocities.
In the morning after Mollah’s execution, around 100 Jamaat-Shibir men set ablaze his two-storey building in Debishahar village. Three of the five brothers of the family used to live there with their wives and children.
The flames gutted everything on the ground floor and partially damaged the belongings on the first floor. Jamaat-Shibir men had also torched three motorcycles, snapped the water-supply line and looted 30 tolas of gold ornaments from the house, said his younger brother Sarat Chandra Ghosh.
He said, “My elder brother [Subhash] and I are now staying in Dhaka while 12 of our family members have taken shelter at our relatives’ houses.”
Narrating the December 13 arson attack by Jamaat-Shibir activists on his house in Kulia village, Debhata upazila parishad chairman and district Awami League leader Golam Mostafa said his 80-year-old mother had implored the attackers not to set the house on fire as Mostafa had done nothing to harm them.
In reply, the attackers told her that they were carrying out the directives of their high-ups.
The activists also vandalised and set on flames the house of Debhata upazila AL president Mujibur Rahman that night.
A large number of ruling party men are living away from their houses fearing attacks on their families. At least 10 AL leaders and activists were killed in the last 30 days.
No less than 70 houses and business establishments of the Hindu community and AL men came under Jamaat-Shibir attacks during this time.
Feroz Ahmed, organising secretary of the district unit AL, said several hundred leaders and activists of the party were hiding fearing attacks.

(Our Satkhira correspondent contributed to the report.)

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/hindus-al-men-desert-homes/

Violence against Hindus in Bangladesh worrying, says BJP

Express News Service : Kolkata, Thu Dec 05 2013,

The state unit of the BJP said Wednesday that sustained violence against Hindus in Bangladesh has resulted in the death of innocent lives across the border, but neither the Centre nor the state government have been vocal against such atrocities.

“It is disappointing to see that none from the Congress at the Centre or from the state government in Bengal have spoken against it. These attacks on the minorities must stop,” said state BJP president Rahul Sinha.

He said that a seven-member team will visit the Bangladesh High Commission and submit a memorandum Thursday. They will later hold a satyagraha at College Street. “If these don’t prod the government then we will start a ‘Bangladesh Chalo’ movement,” he said. (Express News Service : Kolkata, Thu Dec 05 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The daily Star: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Political Violence

Minorities living in fear

Say Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad, Adivasi Forum

Religious minorities and the indigenous people of the country are living in utter fear and uncertainty during the ongoing political violence, said Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad, and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum yesterday.
Amidst the din of politics across the country, the communal forces are attacking the minorities, burning their houses, and destroying their temples and properties, they added.
At a press conference held at Jatiya Press Club in the capital, they alleged that the attacks were a part of a conspiracy to drive the minorities out of the country.
“While the communal forces are continually attacking the minorities, the state is repeatedly failing to protect them,” said Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the parishad.
He regretted that the government had not ensured exemplary punishment for the perpetrators who attacked the minority communities in different areas, including Pabna, Barisal and Lalmonirhat.
He also urged the UN, European Union and all the international human rights organisations to save the communities.
The forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong said,
“Although the present government pledged full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in its election manifesto, it has not taken any major steps in this regard so far.”
He also demanded constitutional recognition for the indigenous people.
The forum Deputy Secretary General Binotamoy Dhamai and advocates Sunil Ranjan Biswas, PC Guha, Sushanto Basu, Shyamol Roy and Kishore Ranjan were, among others, present at the event.http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/minorities-living-in-fear/

Deferment of Jan 5 polls not possible

HT Imam tells BBC Bangladesh Sanglap

Staff Correspondent

HT Imam, co-chairman of Awami League Election Conducting Committee, yesterday said that for the continuation of constitutional process, deferment of the 10th parliamentary election to reach consensus among political parties was not possible.
He was addressing the BBC Bangladesh Sanglap, a debate on contemporary affairs organised by BBC Media Action and BBC Bangla, in the capital’s Biam auditorium.
Another panelist, BNP chairperson’s Adviser Osman Faruk, said questions at home and abroad have already  arisen over the election and proposals for discussions over the 11th election is “nothing but a joke”.
His opinion comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s statement on Thursday that a fresh election would be held after dissolving the 10th parliament if an understanding is reached.
That too will happen only when BNP shuns violence and severs ties with Jamaat-e-Islami, she said.
Imam and another discussant, Supreme Court lawyer Tania Amir, termed advice from abroad over the election “pressure” for an independent country like Bangladesh.
However, Faruk and another participant, former ambassador Humayun Kabir, said friendly countries can give advice for the betterment of the country.
In response to a question from the audience, Tania and Kabir affirmed that politics in Bangladesh has simply become a way to amass wealth.
On demands to sever diplomatic ties with Pakistan for criticising war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah’s execution, both Imam and Faruk avoided direct answers.
Imam said the government should decide it after discussions with the political parties while Faruk said it was the government’s duty to decide and the opposition can provide opinions if it is sought.
Tania said the government should pressurise Pakistan though the United Nations and other channels for the trial of the 195 Pakistani soldiers released in 1974.http://www.thedailystar.net/city/deferment-of-jan-5-polls-not-possible-3456

Uncontested Election of 154 to 10th Parliament

It’s BNP’s fault

Hasina tells Victory Day discussion

Staff Correspondent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday blamed the main opposition BNP’s polls boycott for the 154 candidates’ uncontested election to the 10th parliament.
“It is BNP’s fault…If the party had joined the polls, candidates would not have been elected unopposed. Now BNP is crying slapping their foreheads to join the polls…
“Of course we will score goals as the field is empty. There is no goalkeeper and thus we will go on scoring goals,” she said. Of the 154, 127 are from the AL.
“We knew that the opposition party would participate in the polls. We had reached consensus with the other parties over sharing seats and many of our party candidates withdrew their candidatures,” she added.
The ruling Awami League president was addressing a discussion the party organised in the capital’s Krishibid Institution Bangladesh auditorium marking Victory Day.
Hasina also raised questions over and bitterly criticised BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s silence over the recently passed Pakistan National Assembly resolution criticising war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah’s execution.
“It hurts her (Khaleda) to speak up against Pakistan. She does not want an independent Bangladesh. So, she need not stay here. She should go to Pakistan,” said the premier.
On Khaleda’s warning to take to the streets to intensify the ongoing anti-government movement, Hasina said Khaleda must cite reasons for staying silent before starting the movement.
She again urged BNP to cut ties with Jamaat-e-Islami, saying that a fresh election would be held after dissolving the 10th parliament if consensus is reached. “Talks are going on and it will continue,” she added.
Hasina reaffirmed her government’s firm stance to carry on  the trial of war criminals.
“We faced many obstacles for holding the trial. I received several phone calls from the highest places telling not to execute Quader Mollah. But I do not fear for my life. I will do everything required for people’s welfare,” she said.
On the opposition’s ongoing agitation, she said blockades were being enforced only to save war criminals. She urged people to build up resistance against the blockade.
AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam vowed to reinstate the constitution of 1972 if AL came to power again. “We have made the constitution more democratic by bringing amendments,” he said.
AL leader Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury presided over the discussion, attended by other leaders including Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Ahmod Hossain, Hasan Mahmud and Asim Kumar Ukil.http://www.thedailystar.net/city/its-bnps-fault-3454

Editorial

Jamaat-Shibir stranglehold in Satkhira

Break it, save people from atrocity

Ever since Sayedee verdict and particularly after the execution of Quader Mollah,  violence in all its insidious forms has been ratcheted up by Jamaat-Shibir elements in Satkhira. By barricading roads with felled trees and cutting up highways they have gone about their destructive mission within isolated pockets targeting minority community members, AL leaders and activists.
The area between three kilometers off Kadamtala road junction and Boikary in the north of Satkhira is under Jamaat-Shibir control, they are keeping vigil at important points, bashing vehicles, ransacking businesses and carrying out arson attacks. Among their ploys have been relaying rumours, spreading panic and trying to keep the journalists off.
While piecing together the reports, one is left aghast at the level of violence. In about a month’s time 10 AL leaders and workers have been killed, three Jamaat-Shibir workers have lost lives in clashes with police. Add to this, the damages wreaked on 70 households and business establishments belonging to AL and members of minority community. All this has triggered an exodus of inhabitants to Khulna town and the capital city.
Against this backdrop, a campaign has been launched by the joint forces since Sunday to put a brake on the deteriorating law and order situation. All logistic support needed to tackle Jamaat-Shibir mayhem should be provided by the local administration and the higher authorities. Support mechanisms would have to be found among the local people as an antidote to extremist violence.http://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/jamaat-shibir-stranglehold-in-satkhira-3391

Time to re-think for BNP and the people!

Sifat Mahmud

The people of Bangladesh have again seen the real attitude of Pakistan towards them and Jamaat-e-Islam in recent events following the execution of a well known collaborator and Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah (commonly known as ‘butcher of Mirpur’). The Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan and other political parties, including the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League, condemned the execution. Jamaat-e-Islam of Pakistan has carried out countrywide programmes protesting the execution of Mollah, in their words a leader of their Bangladesh branch who supported Pakistan during 1971, and called him a ‘martyr.’
Ministers, MPs and political leaders have also condemned the execution because Mollah has, in their words, been executed for supporting the unity of Pakistan in 1971. The Pakistan Parliament has gone a step further by expressing grief on Mollah’s execution. This shameless attitude of Pakistan is nothing new. In 2000, the then Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan Irfan Raja had the audacity to undermine our Liberation War. However, this time they exceeded the limit.
The people of Bangladesh earned their independence at the cost of blood and sacrifice. It would not have been possible for an invading army to launch such a massacre coming from 1,200 miles away without active cooperation of the then East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islam and other local collaborators. The people of Bangladesh still suffer the pain sustained during the Liberation War.
The government of newly independent Bangladesh initially decided to prosecute 1,100 Pakistani Prisoners of War (POW) for war crimes. Later, 195 POWs were identified to be prosecuted for most serious crimes. The Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order 1972 was also announced to try the local war criminals, and the trial commenced. In 1973, a general clemency was announced for local collaborators except those who were convicted for or charged with or alleged to have committed murder, rape, mischief by fire or explosive substance to destroy houses or vessels. The government of Bangladesh also amended its legal system in preparation for the trials of both Pakistanis and local collaborators and enacted the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act (ICTA) 1973.
To prevent Bangladesh from trying the POWs, Pakistan government took a series of actions including: preventing the 400,000 trapped Bangladeshis from leaving Pakistan and making them hostages; keeping the Bangali officers in “concentration camps;” imprisoning thousands of Bangalis without charges; and announcing thousand rupee reward for capturing any Bangali who tried to escape from Pakistan. However, Pakistan government also expressed their willingness to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those POWs. Pakistani Minister of State for foreign and defence affairs Aziz Ahmed publicly stated this view of his government.
In these circumstances, following a series of meetings and discussions between Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Bangladesh ultimately agreed to release the 195 POWs under a Tripartite Agreement between the three countries. However, the Tripartite Agreement mentioned Bangladesh’s position on the 195 POWs in Article 13 of the agreement, which states: “[T] he excesses and manifold crimes committed by these prisoners of war constituted according to the relevant provisions of the UN General Assembly Resolutions and International Law, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and that there was universal consensus that persons charged with such crimes as the 195 Pakistani prisoners of war should be held to account and subjected to the dues process of Law.”
Even if for the sake of argument we say that the Tripartite Agreement exempted 195 POWs from their charges, it is void. It is a settled law that international crimes are jus cogens (compelling laws) and should be universally condemned. According to Article 53 of Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969 any agreement or treaty, if seems to be conflicting and derogatory to jus cogens norms is void. Hence Pakistan failed to prosecute Pakistani war criminals as they are yet legally bound to do.
After signing the agreement Bangladesh continued the trial of local collaborators. However, on December 31, 1975, General Ziaur Rahman repealed the Collaborators Order and released thousand of war criminals who were convicted for and charged with specific allegation of crimes. He pulled off the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and allowed Ghulam Azam to return to Bangladesh. Since then, we have seen how BNP has protected and patronised Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh till today.
The victims of the Liberation War, their relatives and civil society were always vocal to try local collaborators. Interestingly, the ICTA 1973 and Article 47(3) of the Constitution remained unchanged. This gave hope that local war criminals would be prosecuted. On January 29, 2009, the Bangladesh Parliament took a unanimous decision and passed a resolution to try war criminals. The trial process began on March 25, 2010. Finally, after overcoming of conspiracies and hindrances, at home and abroad, and exhausting all judicial steps Quader Mollah was executed on December 12.
This great achievement of the nation seems to have made BNP unhappy. It kept silent after Mollah’s execution. The BNP-Jamaat alliance and their foreign allies like Pakistan tried to hinder and halt the trial till the last minute. BNP has always been trying to protect and promote Jamaat-e-Islami since Zia’s regime. It is a shameful fact that two marked war criminal Jamaat leaders were appointed as ministers in Khaleda Zia’s last cabinet. Today, when Pakistan is most unfairly and shamelessly undermining our judicial process, BNP, most unfortunately, is silent.
At the same time we are seeing a diplomatic fight between India and US, and how the ruling party and the opposition party in India are working together to uphold the dignity of their country. But in Bangladesh the scenario is completely opposite. BNP’s silence after Pakistan’s reaction manifestly proves their soft corner for Pakistan and its local collaborators and undermines our national dignity. Pakistan’s reactions have revealed the real face of Jamaat and proved its role in 1971 to the new generation. Therefore, it is time for BNP to re-think whether they should respect the public sentiment or continue to patronise Jamaat.(The writer is a Barrister-at-Law.)http://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/time-to-re-think-for-bnp-and-the-people-3386

Victory of a concept called Bangladesh

Sumon K. Chakrabarti

The ‘Butcher of Mirpur’ Abdul Quader Mollah has been sent to the gallows. It’s the only Islamic-majority country in the world to have tried and then sent to gallows one of the foremost war criminals in the nation — who killed, raped and maimed many during the country’s Liberation War from Pakistan in 1971. Justice after 42 long years. But to quote a recent poster campaign by the Nazi hunters — Simon Wiesenthal Centre: “Late, but not too late.” The Simon Wiesenthal Centre launched this campaign in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne this year, to try and bring to justice the last Nazi war criminals living with impunity in Germany.
Ukranian-born Simon Wiesenthal and his family spent time in several concentration camps; 89 members of his and his wife’s families died at the hands of the Nazis. If Wiesenthal was the real deal when it came to hunting down escaped Nazi war criminals, then in Bangladesh this credit goes to few. And it starts right at the top with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Don’t forget for a second what she and her family were subjected to. Her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally gunned down in a coup along with other family members. Yet she and sister have stood their ground and meted out justice to Bangladeshis, who were the victim of the worst genocide in post-colonial South Asia in the hands of Pakistani troops and their collaborators in the likes of Mollah. And then there are the likes of Shariyar Kabir, whose Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (Committee for Resisting Killers and Collaborators of Bangladesh Liberation War) fought a relentless battle against all odds and terror tactics to identify and collate proof against the war criminals of 1971.
But then came the Shahbagh Movement. A movement which has often been wrongly identified as the Bangla Spring. Shahbagh was nothing like the Arab Spring. Shahbagh was unique, not just in its very essence, but its character. In a Muslim-majority country, Shahbagh defied all odds and stood against Islamic radicalism; Shahbagh made us remember all over again that we are Bengalis first; Shahbagh brought the chants of Joy Bangla back on the streets and hearts of Bangladeshis. Shahbagh did not want to overthrow a government, but it made this generation of Bangladeshis stand up for justice — justice for the inhuman crimes committed against their parents and grandparents.
But there is a global outcry over the fairness of his and other trials held for alleged war crimes. How can Bangladeshis be ‘blood-thirsty,’ many have asked. An eye for an eye will turn the entire country blind, argued many. They have conveniently forgotten how millions of women were raped and mutilated, how minor boys and girls as young as two-years-old were thrashed to death in 1971.
And have they also forgotten Adolf ¬Eichmann? After two decades, Eichmann, one of the top leaders of the Nazi party in Germany, was found hiding in Argentina. He was smuggled out the South American nation in 1960 by agent¬s of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. He was tried and sentenced in 196 and hanged in 1962.
Long live Bangladesh. Because it’s not just the name of a country but a concept. A concept of people who speak the same language, a concept which led them to revolt against Pakistani domination 42 years ago, a concept where language comes before religion.
And inside Bangladesh, the word ‘Jamaat’ needs to be treated with as much contempt as ‘Nazis’ are across the world. A recent example is of the 20-year-old Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis, who celebrated a game-winning goal on Saturday by giving a Nazi salute to fans in Athens and has been banned for life from representing his country in international tournaments.
Over the years ‘Razakar’ has replaced ‘Jamaat’ in practice while identifying those who carried out the genocide during the formation of the Bengali-speaking nation. It has been a continuous but subtle effort to delineate the essence; in reality though, ‘Jamaatis’ and ‘Razakars’ are both sides of the same coin. And they should be treated with the utmost contempt like the ‘Neo-Nazis.’ Nothing more, nothing less. Otherwise humanity risks insulting millions who laid down their lives and/or were violated in the barbaric genocide of 1971, all over again.The writer is a senior Indian journalist covering Bangladesh for over a decade.http://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/victory-of-a-concept-called-bangladesh-3389

Resolutely supporting wrong

Editorial: The Nation

It appears that a large segment of the political leadership is facing tremendous difficulty in coming to terms with certain ground realities. Perhaps all they require is a little assistance, and so it shall be offered: East-Pakistan is no more. In its place, there exists an independent, sovereign state, known as Bangladesh. It is inhabited by Bengalis. Not former or future Pakistanis, just Bengalis. Those who find the facts stated above far too obvious and think that there is no need to reiterate the unmistakable, are advised to take a brief look at the National Assembly (NA) resolution passed by the lower house of the Parliament against the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami (Bangladesh) leader, Abdul Quader Mollah. Apparently, forty-four years are just not enough for some to recover from a bad break-up.
While speaking on the issue in the NA, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan claimed that Mr. Mollah was hanged for ‘supporting’ Pakistan and remained true to the cause of a united Pakistan till the very last day of life. He further claimed that the nation was deeply saddened by the execution of the veteran JI leader. False, all of it. Of course, it doesn’t help that Bangladeshi PM, Ms. Wajid, is not immune to playing politics on the issue either, claiming that there is “no place” in Bangladesh for supporters of Pakistan.
Although Mr. Mollah’s charge sheet is quite extensive, ‘supporting’ Pakistan during 1971 isn’t listed as a crime anywhere. It does, however, contain allegations of murder and rape of several men, women and children, and those are precisely the heinous crimes he was tried for, convicted and executed. Being a seasoned politician, Mr. Nisar is surely aware that there are far better ways than torturing and killing dissenters to express patriotism and struggling for unity. Secondly, if in Mr. Nisar’s infinite wisdom, it is a matter of pride for a Bangladeshi national to seek a ‘united Pakistan’ till his last breath, what opinion does he hold for a Pakistani citizen who seeks a united India? Thirdly, Pakistan has no right poking its nose in the internal matters of another country. The ongoing trials in Bangladesh are the fulfillment of the election promise of its PM, Sheikh Hasina Wajid. Let us not forget that a life imprisonment sentence failed to satisfy the Bangladeshi populace, who took to the streets demanding a death sentence instead. But, even if that was not the case, it is none of Pakistan’s business. Their aggressors, their victims and their decisions. Just because we are not interested in taking our criminals to task, doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of the world must act with the same callousness.
Bangladesh has already recorded its protest with the Pakistan’s High Commissioner and demanded the resolution be withdrawn. The nation is not in favour of portraying convicted murderers and rapists as heroes of the ’cause’. Stop embarrassing us.© The Nation (Pakistan).http://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/resolutely-supporting-wrong-3385

 

The daily Star: Saturday, December 21, 2013

People in Nilphamari

Still reeling from Jamaat shock

Sohel Parvez and EAM Asaduzzaman

What took him a decade of hard work and perseverance to accomplish was burnt to ashes in a matter of minutes.
Hours before the execution of war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah on December 12, a group of Jamaat-Shibir men burnt down Abu Sayeed’s shop, the only source of his income.
Yet, almost a week later, he was too scared to speak out against the perpetrators who had torched his spare parts store along with about 70 more at Kacharibazar in Laxmichap of Nilphamari.
Standing on the ruins of his store on Wednesday, Abu Sayeed recalled what he saw that night.
“Tension gripped the whole marketplace after the evening prayers. People were saying that the situation might turn bad. So, we all shut our shops and went home. I came back around 8:30pm to check if everything was all right and saw fire everywhere. I tried to douse the flame in my store but one of my relatives pinned me back,” said a virtually shaken Sayeed.
It was not just Sayeed. Everyone in the area seemed to have been gagged by fear as another terrifying incident shook the very nerves of the people. The atrocity was something none of them were even remotely familiar with.
Two days after the arson incidents at Kacharibazar and Beltali, eminent cultural personality and local Lawmaker Asaduzzaman Noor’s motorcade came under attack at Tupamari village near Ramganj when he was returning to the district headquarters after visiting the arson-affected site.
Noor was unhurt but five people, including two from the same family, were killed and at least 50 injured, as hundreds of Jamaat-Shibir men armed with sharp weapons pounced on the motorcade.
In what seemed to be a clear-cut ambush in militant style, they had dug the road leading to the district town at a point with bamboo groves on both sides, intercepted the motorcade, split it into two parts to strategically weaken Noor’s people and then begun the mayhem.
So ferocious was the assault that Kamruzzaman Huda, a resident of Tupamari village, was still reeling from it.
“After seeing such brutality, I cannot eat properly. I feel sick. I just cannot adjust my mind to the fact that human beings are capable of such brutality,” said the 35-year old who escaped the mayhem with minor injuries to his knees.
He said rumours were spread that Noor’s people had set a Jamaat leader’s house on fire and killed some villagers, in order to incite the villagers to attack the motorcade.
The stretch of the Ramganj-Mirganj road where the attack took place still bears visible burn marks, with uprooted trees lying haphazardly.
The typically crowded Ramganj bazaar where the road leads to was almost bereft of people even in broad daylight when this reporter went there on Wednesday.
“You will not find anyone on the road after sunset. People, especially activists of Awami League, are scared of sudden attacks,” said Belal Haq Shah, uncle of the two brothers killed in the attack on Noor’s motorcade.
However, it is among the Hindu community that tension runs at its palpable worst.
Anyada Prashad Roy whose tea stall at Beltali bazaar was vandalised on December 12, did not even come to clear the wreckage until Wednesday morning, five days after the arson.
“All our materials including tea cups were destroyed. We are scared. But this [shop] is the only source of our livelihood — we cannot just leave it in this state,” Anyada said while scrambling through the wreckage.
Tapan Kumar Roy, whose house at Laxmichap fell prey to Jamaat men’s destruction spree that night, said the Hindus had become the target of attacks regardless of issues.
“It appears that we, the Hindus, cannot live in this country anymore,” he said, standing next to the burnt stacks of recently harvested paddy in his front yard.
“You only see the burnt paddy but don’t you see burns inside us?” he asked frantically.
His neighbour Dhirendranath Roy said the feeling of insecurity among the Hindus had multiplied after the attacks.
“We are afraid of filing cases in connection with Thursday’s attack, as the attackers have threatened of revenge if we do so,” said a villager, declining to share his name for fear of reprisal.http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/still-reeling-from-jamaat-shock/

Idols vandalised

Our Correspondent, Netrakona

 

Criminals vandalise two idols at a Kali temple at Kailati village in Kalmakanda upazila of Netrakona early yesterday. Photo: Star

Unidentified criminals vandalised three idols at two Kali temples and also set the temples afire at Kailati village under Kalmakanda upazila early yesterday. Jamaat-Shibir men might have been behind the arson attacks on the temples to create panic among 215 Hindu families of the village, said Rati Ranjan Ghosh, a member of one of the temple committees.District Police Superintendent Mohammad Zakir Hossain and Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Touhidul Islam visited the spot yesterday morning. Police could not unearth clues to the attacks and identify the criminals as of 6:00pm yesterday.Contacted, Police Superintendent Zakir Hossain said law enforcers have already launched a drive to arrest the culprits. ( The daily Star, December 23, 2013 )

 

 

Leave a Reply