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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Anti-Hindu pogrom continues in Noakhali, 6 dead including 2 ISKCON monks: Bangladesh

The orchestrated anti-Hindu violence that has engulfed Chittagong division of Bangladesh from Wednesday onwards continued unabated in Noakhali yesterday on the occassion of Bijoy Dashami (Vijaydashami).

HinduPost spoke to a source in Bangladesh, who told us about the large-scale violence, deaths and destruction that was unleashed in Noakhali, reviving disturbing memories of the 1946 Noakhali genocide.

The following Hindu temples and religious places were attacked in Noakhali: Ram Thakur Ashram, ISKCON temple, Loknath temple, Radhamadhab Ahakra, all Durga Puja pandals.

The Bangladesh unit of ISKCON tweeted that the sculpture of its founder, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, was burnt down during the attack on the temple.

Several Hindu houses, shops and other establishments were burnt and looted. Some people are still missing. At least 6 Hindus have been confirmed dead in the violence of the last few days, and many are injured, some seriously.

On Wednesday, violence erupted in Cumilla (Comilla) district after an incident of ‘blasphemy’ was manufactured by placing a Quran at the foot of a Hanuman murti in a Durga Puja pandal. That same day, Hindu rights activist Advocate Dr. Gobinda Chandra Pramanik had reported 2 dead, one of which was a young Hindu man Manik Saha.

Two of those who died during the violence on Friday are reported to be monks of ISKCON, who died while trying to guard the ISKCON temple and Durga Puja pandal in Naokhali. Their names are being given as Nitai Das Prabhu and Jatan Saha Prabhu, althought we have not been able to confirm this. A devotee Pranto Chandra Das was found dead in a pond near the temple today. Devotees Ram Krishna Das and Nemai Krishna Dasa are also feared dead.

CCTV footage purportedly shows an attack on the Ramkrishna Mission and temples in Hazigang, Chandpur district after midnight on 13/14 October

Disturbing accounts of mass rapes as well are coming on social media. There is an internet blackout in many parts, and local media is also not reporting all the details.

We are hearing that the 10-year-old who was gang-raped has passed away.

There are also reports of a large Muslim mob clashing with police after Friday prayers in Dhaka over the ‘blasphemy’ incident. 43 people have been arrested so far, including Fayez who initially uploaded the inflammatory video of the manufactured Quran ‘desecration’ incident in Cumilla’s Nanua Dighir Par pandal.

One of the chief instigators behind this well-orchestrated pogrom is said to be a Dr. Inayatullah (Enayetullah) Abbassi, known for his fanatical and fundamentalist videos.

Our source told us that the alleged ‘blasphemy’ formula to incite attacks on minorities has become a favorite tool of Bangladeshi Islamists since 2012.

On 29 September, 2012, a blasphemy allegation was made against a Buddhist youth and used to launch a pogrom against Buddhists in Ramu village, Cox’s Bazar district. Since then, the same tactic has been used against Hindus in November 2013 – Pabna, May 2014 – Cumilla, Nov 2016 – Nasirnagar in Brahmanbaria, Nov 2017 – Rangpur, Oct 2019 – Bhola, Nov 2020 – Muradnagar in Cumilla, 16 March 2021 – Shalla in Sunamgarh, and now 13 Oct 2021 – Cumilla.

Some of the Hindus who were accused of posting ‘blasphemous’ content include an illiterate fisherman Roshoraj (Raju) Das and a youth Jhumon Das.

It is noteworthy that Cumilla is often targeted by the Islamists because at around 25%, it has a higher proportion of Hindus than in the rest of Bangladesh where Hindus constitute just 8-9% of total population. Also Cumilla is close to Bangladesh’s eastern border with Bharat, and Cumilla and Brahmanbaria have both seen an explosion in the number of madrasas in recent years.

Our source told us that Bangladeshi Hindus still have hope in Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League (AL) government, because the opposition alliance of BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami are outright fanatics. The Jamaat student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir is especially notorious.

But since 2014, around the time the Hasina government was trying and convicting many top Jamaat leaders for war crimes during the 1971 war, many Jamaatis have moved into Awami League (AL) in search of safety. Also, corruption is rife in the country and loyalties can be bought. At times, police also becomes helpless in the face of huge crowds who come out in waves after Friday prayers. Radical infiltration of Bangladeshi security forces is also a real risk.

The pain of the Hindus of Bangladesh is raw, and must be felt by every Hindu across the world:

Unless we in Bharat protest this brutality and force our government to take a tough stance with the Sheikh Hasina government, this genocide of Bangladeshi Hindus will not stop. But before that, we first need to stop the pogroms and exoduses of Hindus within Bharat.

What we need is Dharmic leadership above anything else. Can ISKCON Bharat lead the way by organizing serial protests across the country over what just occurred in Bangladesh?

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