Disturbing facts and figures
THE annual report of the Kapaeeng Foundation, a minority rights watchdog, contains disturbing facts and figures about rights violation of the national minority communities in general and ethnic groups in general. According to the report, which was released in the capital Dhaka on Monday and quoted in New Age on Tuesday, at least 278 incidents whereby the house and property belonging minority communities were damaged or demolished took place in 2012. There were at least 133 cases of torture and intimidation, which prompted 165 people of these communities to cross the border and take refuge in India until they were brought back following a flag meeting between the Border Guards Bangladesh and the Border Security Force of India. Sixteen individuals belonging to the minority population were also killed in 2012. The report adds that there were nine communal attacks—four in the hills and five in the plains—across the country in 2012, and at least 75 women and children were subjected to violence. Seventeen rapes were reported, with four of the victims killed after rape and another committing suicide. Moreover, there were at least 13 attempts to rape minority women and girls, and 33 incidents of physical assault, harassment and molestation. Disturbingly still, according to the chair of the National Human Rights Commission, who attended the report-launching ceremony, said the commission had come to know of cases whereby some people converted a number of children belonging to the minority communities into Islam by deceiving their parents.
The fact that most of the victims are yet to get any redress although either they or their relatives approached the local administrations immediately after the incidents took place, which could only be construed as sustained indifference of the ruling quarters to the misery of the ethnic and religious minority communities. The Awami League-led government needs to realise that such indifference could only compound the apparent mistrust and suspicion of the national minority communities, which could have detrimental consequences. Thus, it needs to take effective measures to address the human rights violations of the minority communities immediately.
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