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Men stay out at night, people guard houses in places

Tapos Kanti Das

A large number of villagers in areas of at least seven districts who are not anyhow involved in politics are passing their nights out in fear of attack from their ‘rivals’ or ‘unnamed’ miscreants as law and order sharply deteriorated in their areas.
People from a few areas, especially in Hindu localities, are guarding their areas in groups by turn to save their lives and property, reports received from at least three districts said.
Violence continues in in the districts centring on the recent political unrest and the execution of a Jamaat-e-Islami leader on charge of war crimes he had committed in 1971.
Local leaders of both the Awami League-led and the BNP-led alliance in the districts are not staying in their houses at night. While AL leaders fear that Jamaat and Shibir activists might attack them, Jamaat and Shibir leaders fear that AL activists and law enforcers might attack them, according to leaders of the parties.
The unrest and a sense of insecurity forced the Bawra union chairman in Lalmonirhat to set up a 25-member committee, involving both the Hindus and the Muslims, at Shafinagar on Monday to keep peace in the area.
‘The committee will work for welfare of villagers. I will help and guide the committee,’ the chairman, Habibul Haque Basuniya, told New Age.
According to reports published in newspapers, more than 100 people were injured and scores of houses and business establishments were burnt and damaged in political violence after November 25 when the schedule for the next general elections was announced setting the polling day for January 5.
Of them, at least 30 people died in clashes after the execution of Jamaat’s assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Molla, which took place on December 12.
Several houses and business establishments, many belonging to Hindus, who are not involved in politics, and temples were attacked and burnt.
Police officials of the districts said that they were trying to contain the situation.
The state minister for home, Shamsul Haque Tuku, however, on December 12, after presiding over a meeting at the secretariat on law and order for Christmas on December 25 and the 31st night, claimed the people were leading normal life amid the nationwide blockade enforced by the opposition.
He also had said that the law enforcement agencies had managed to keep order throughout the country.
‘I have fled my home when the Jamaat and Shibir activists set my house on fire a week ago although I am not into politics. They were threatening me and my
family,’ Tapos Acharjee, a villager of Agardari in Satkhira who has taken shelter in the district town, said.
Villagers from places at Shyamnagar, Assassuni, Debhata and Satkhira sadar reported similar incidents.
‘We do not sleep at night. We guard our locality,’ Krishna Kumar Roy, a student of the Nilphamari Government College and inhabitant of Nilahati in the district headquarters, said.
He said that like others, his parents were not allowing him to go to college.
The New Age correspondent in Jaipurhat, quoting local people, said that Jamaat and Shibir activists had employed several groups and set up several ‘check points’ at Mohammadpur, Kusumba and Aolai of Panchbibi to guard their locality from probable attacks by AL activists and law enforcers.
The Jamaat’s district unit assistant secretary Shamsur Rahman, however, claimed that they had neither set up any ‘check points’ nor employed any people for security of the locality.
The Hindus have become frightened as Jamaat activists burnt eight of their business establishments centering on the execution of Quader Molla, the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council’s presidium member Nripendranath Mandal said.
The correspondent in Barisal, quoting local people, said that many Hindu families of Lalmohan, Borhanuddin, Daulatkhan and Tazumddin in Bhola had left their houses for safety.
Many of the Hindus at Shafinagar and Ghoshpara of Patgram in Lalmonirhat have left their villages in fear of further attack after Jamaat and Shibir activists had attacked and looted their business establishments and houses, the correspondent in Lalmonirhat, quoting the local people and law enforcers, said.
Some of them are also staying at home but passing sleepless nights and guarding the locality in groups.
Many Hindus are still out of their houses in fear of Jamaat and Shibir attacks, said Sunil Chandra Sen, 48, of Shafinagar, adding that about 100 Hindu families in the village were passing sleepless nights and guarding their family and property in groups at night after the attack on 18 business establishment of the Hindus on October 27.
The local heritage temple came under attack early December 16 when the attackers damaged idols in the temple.
The same situation is now prevailing at Ghoshpara at Patgram. The village came under attack by Jamaat and Shibir activists on November 28 while five shops and two houses of the Hindus were looted and vandalised.
The correspondent in Lakshmipur said that people were panicked while political leaders and activists of almost all the parties went into hiding and after the death of 11 leaders and activists of the Awami League, the BNP and Jamaat in the past one week allegedly in the hands of their rivals and law enforcers.
The business establishments and houses owned by the Hindus in places in Nilphamari came under arson attacks after the execution of Quader Molla, and Hindu villagers were guarding their localities in groups to save their lives and property, the correspondent in Nilphamari said
‘People of my union, especially the Hindus, are guarding their houses and business establishments in groups at night from probable attack by Jamaat and Shibir activists,’ Tapan Kumar Roy, chairman of Palashbari in the district headquarters said.
The Nilphamari police officer-in-charge, Md Akkas Ahmed, said that they had intensified patrol in areas where attacks took place and were guarding the localities.

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