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ATTACKS ON RELIGIOUS MINORITIES

Fresh attacks take place in Satkhira, Panchagarh

Staff Correspondent

The Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council on Tuesday brings out a procession in front of the National Press Club in protest at attacks on religious minorities. — New Age photo 
 The Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council on Tuesday brings out a procession in front of the National Press Club in protest at attacks on religious minorities. — New Age photo

Attacks on religious minorities that began in different places after the national elections, held on Sunday, continued with such attacks taking place in Panchagarh and Satkhira on Tuesday.
Many of the people who left their houses in many places as such violence broke out soon after the elections were, however, yet to return to their own place.
Miscreants attacked religious minorities at Abyaynagar in Jessore, Thakurgaon, Chittagong, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Satkhira, Gaibandha,  Dinajpur and some other districts, in which several hundred families were affected.
Hindu Buddhist and Christian Unity Council presidium member Kajol Debnath, told New Age that many such attacks had gone unreported. He feared that such attacks would continue.
Different social and cultural organisations have also condemned the attacks.
The government said that they were taking steps to ensure safety of such
people and launched drives to arrest ‘miscreants’ for disturbing communal harmony.
‘We were busy ensuring security of the polling stations rather than of minority communities,’ the superintendent of police in Jessore, Joydeb Kumar Bhadra, said. ‘We had no information that such attack could take place.’
He said on Monday night that it was impossible for the law enforcers alone to ensure fool-proof security.
The Transparency International, Bangladesh’s executive director Iftekharuzzman in a statement feared that the situation could worsen if the authorities did not take ‘effective’ steps immediately in this regard.
The New Age correspondent in Satkhira said that attacks on minority communities continued till Tuesday night.
On Tuesday evening, miscreants damaged the house of Parimal Malo at Paranpur of Tala in the district.
Hindu community leaders in Panchagarh said that two of their houses and two shops had been burnt by miscreant on Tuesday evening. The army, however, intervened immediately.
The correspondent in Jessore said that a number of fishermen left their houses for safety again although a temporary police camp was set up at Malopara-Chapatala at Abhaynagar.
Miscreants equipped with weapons and explosives carried attacked more than a hundred houses in a village of fishermen after the elections.
The deputy commissioner, Mustafizur Rahman, and the superintendent of police at a press briefing said that the administration had failed to ensure adequate security for shortage of law enforcers.
The deputy commissioner, however, said that Tk 3.37 lakh and four tonnes of rice had been allocated for the victims.
Mustafizur also said that the police had filed a case against 39 men in this connection and two of them had been arrested.
The district police chief said that 80 per cent of the villagers, who earlier left their houses, returned after police deployment.
They, however, did not name any political group attacking the Hindus.
The Sridharpur union chairman, Habibur Rahman, told New Age that most of the victims had returned to their houses.
Bikash Biswas, a villager, said that the miscreants had also burnt their fishing nets.
After an emergency meeting, Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mahajote in a statement on Tuesday alleged that the ruling party had used the minority communities in fights against its opponents.
The statement also said that in many cases, minority community people had sought help from Awami League leaders and the police but they did not respond.
Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, however, blamed the Jamaat-e-Islami and its associate organisations for the attack on the minorities.
Jana Udyog, a platform of citizens and professionals, at a rally on Tuesday in capital protested at the attacks on religious minority.
They put forth a set of demands, including an immediate arrest of attackers, steps for security and rehabilitation of the victims.
Sampradayik Santras Pratirodhe Pragatishil Ganasangathan will hold a rally in front the National Museum in the capital about 4:00pm today after a procession.
The Workers Party of Bangladesh also demanded that the government should deal with the attackers with an iron hand.




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