by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
September 4, 2011
September 4, 2011
During last five days, there had been at least two major incidents of attacking the Hindu temples, ransack of Hindu residences as well as physical assault and rape of Hindus in Bangladesh. Persecutions of Hindus are continuing in Bangladesh since the independence of the country. None of the political parties have ever spared the Bangladeshi Hindus from such notoriety. The ruling Bangladesh Awami League, which proclaims to be secularist and a political party more sympathetic towards religious minorities, particularly Hindus, in reality is no exception that those Islamist and pro-Islamist political parties in Bangladesh, as far as repression and persecution of Hindus and religious minorities are concerned. The latest incidents took place at Kishoreganj and Comilla districts respectively.
According to information, a group of thugs led by local Awami League leader Engraj Miah attacked the residences of a local Hindu family of [Sanyashi cast] and demolished their residences while destroyed at least 50 trees within the compound at Kishoreganj district [100 kilometers from the capital] During this attack, minors in the family were also beaten by the members of the attacking gang while at least several female members were raped and molested. The houses of Paresh Sanyashi, Pranesh Sanyashi and Jibon Sanyashi were destroyed during this attack. Valuables and ornaments were looted during this brutality. Elderly female member of the Sanyashi family, Mrs. Bina Sanyashi was severely beaten by the perpetrators. They raped some of the female members at gun point. Awami League leader Engraj Miah personally led the entire incident, which continued for hours. Members of law enforcing agencies did not come forward in salvaging the members of the attacked Hindu community, as the attackers belong to the ruling party. Following the attack, Bina Rani said "This is not the Bangladesh for which we sacrificed blood. This is not the Awami League, which claims to protect our interest. I have not seen such brutality even from the Pakistani occupation forces during the war of independence of this country. We have become captive in the hands of the politicians. Whether they are secularists or Islamists, all are anti-Hindus."
She said "They assaulted me physically and violated a number of the female members of our family. How many more Hindu female will be violated in this independent Bangladesh? Don't we deserve equal right as the citizen of this country?"
It is also reported that, the thugs led by the ruling party leader not only attacked and violated Hindu families, they also physically assaulted a Muslim housewife named Shamima Azad Moni, who came forward protesting the brutality on the Hindus. One of the attackers put a knife on the throat of Mrs. Moni and started beating her son. Later she was 'molested' by the members of the gang. Police did not take any action against the perpetrators, as they are influential members of the ruling party and enjoys patronization from the local Member of Parliament.
Meanwhile, in another incident, which took place at Comilla district [90 kilometers from the capital] seven Hindu families were attacked by local thugs led by local leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP] Masum Billah. From the early hours of the day, some of the local Muslims started anti-Hindu propaganda on loudspeakers. At around 8:00 am in the morning on August 31, 2011, the perpetrators attacked the house of Ajit Das and his relatives. 25 rooms in 9 houses were ransacked during this attack while valuables were looted. Members of the attacked Hindu families complained that the attackers looted gold ornament worth TK. 25 million, two million Taka in cash and some electronic items. Hindu deities were also demolished during this attack.
Ajit Das said, the attackers tried to violet the female members of the family. At this stage, Lovely Das, aged 35 [wife of Uttam Das], Isha Das aged 10 [daughter of Uttam Das], Rinku Das aged 30 [wife of Gautam Das] and Priya Das aged 10 [daughter of Swapan Das] confronted the perpetrators and tried to save the members of the family from being violated. But the attackers started beating them and even raped a few of the members of the family. As the second incident of attack on Hindu families were by opposition activists, police rushed to the spot and arrested a few culprits immediately after the incident.
Serialized persecution of Hindus and religious minorities is continuing in Bangladesh for decades and none of the political parties have shown any willingness of stopping such notoriety. Rather, in most cases, perpetrators are backed by influential political quarters in the country. Since Bangladesh Awami League came in power in 2009, Hindus were feeling relaxed thinking this secularist party will accord safety and security to them. But, in reality, series of attacks on Hindu temples, grabbing of Hindu properties and burning of Hindu religious holy books continued as before. On April 2, 2011 an ancient Hindu temple at Sylhet district [250 kilometers from the capital] came under attack of the perpetrators in broad-day-light. Deities were smashed, Hindu religious books such as Bhagwat Geeta burnt and local Hindu community members were physically assaulted. The attackers also severely injured Siddha Gaur Das Brahmachari and attempted to kill the priest-in-charge of the temple.
Following this tragic incident of Hindu persecution and burning of Hindu religious Holy Scripture, a local Hindu leader, Gobinda Chandra Pramanik said, "Hindus are unfortunately considered as enemies and Indian agents in Bangladesh. Well organized anti-Hindu propaganda continues in the country for decades, which certainly fuels such notoriety. On the other hand, some Islamic NGOs and madrassas are actively engaging in abducting Hindu girls thus forcibly converting them into Islam. This is a well planned conspiracy of systematically eliminating Hindus from Bangladesh."