Massive protests in Bangladesh against attacks on Hindus
Over 10,000 Hindus of Khurushkul Kuliapara Union in Cox’s Bazar sadar upazila demonstrated in the town on Sunday demanding punishment of the people who attacked on them in the midnight of Saturday after losing to a Hindu member candidate in the union parishad election.
The procession paraded the city and later took position in front of the office of the deputy commissioner. The DC and the SP have assured them of taking strict action against the perpetrators. So far, police have arrested three people in connection with the incident that terrified the locals.
Local journalists say it was the largest ever demonstration of the Hindus in years.
The victims said that at least 30 people were injured when 100-150 supporters of defeated member candidates Abul Hossain and Rahima Khatun attacked on the houses and shops of Hindu-inhabited Kuliapara with sharp weapons.
The perpetrators, who also include supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdur Rahim Master and BNP leader Shah Alam Siddiqui, damaged two temples including the Loknath Temple and over 100 houses.
The injured include an elderly physically-challenged couple who runs a small shop in the area.
The local Hindus are terrified at the extent of the attack and said that many people would have been killed if they had not taken shelter outside their houses.
Meanwhile, the supporters of newly-elected chairman of Mongolkot Union at Keshabpur of Jessore Monwar Hossain launched a fierce attack on the Hindu locality at Chhoto Pathra village in broad daylight on Sunday.
According to witnesses, some 50-60 radical Muslims led by Monwar’s son Khalid Hossain and his associate Hamza Noor tortured several Hindus, vandalized over a dozen houses and looted money and valuables during the attack around 12:30pm.
Awami League leader Monwar contested the election as an independent candidate as he did not get party support against the same party’s Abdul Kader Biswas. The attackers think that the Hindus of the area did not vote for Monwar.
Members of BGB, RAB and police were sent to the affected area. But they took no legal action though the incident was widely reported by mainstream media.
Locals said that they felt threatened to live in their houses as the perpetrators are ruling party supporters. They are even afraid of filing cases against the attackers demanding justice. They said that the law enforcers did not take the matter seriously.
On Saturday and Sunday, two incidents of attacks on Hindus over union parishad elections were reported in Sylhet and Gaibandha that left at least 10 people injured. Several women were sexually assaulted in one incident.
According to witnesses, chairman candidate of Balaganj Union in Sylhet sadar Sheikh Jamal Ahmed Kholku was enraged at the Hindus of Shatwapur village for his defeat in the election held on Saturday. He then demanded Tk2 lakh from them and threatened to stop their fishing profession.
As the Hindu fishermen refused to pay the money, Kholku along with his brother and their supporters attacked on several houses in the village on Sunday morning and looted their valuables.
Five people including an elderly man and two women were injured in the attack. They were admitted to Balaganj Upazila Health Complex and Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital with critical injuries.
Police later arrested Kholku and his cousin Shahin in this connection.
In the other incident, three men and two women were injured as the followers of defeated member candidate in Hossainpur Union under Polashbari of Gaibandha attacked on the Hindus of West Faridpur village on Saturday night.
Their houses were vandalized and looted, the victims said. Even the women were tortured severely and sexually assaulted. Their clothes were torn apart by the attackers.
Locals have demanded action against the perpetrators, but the police did not take any action as of Monday.