Despite the global criticism for the anti-Hindu pogrom planned and carried out during the Durga Puja in 2021, Islamist fanatics continue to traumatize the Hindus of Bangladesh. In the past few years, land grabbing has surfaced as a major crisis faced by the Hindus in Bangladesh. In a fresh incident of attempted land grabbing reported from Muladi Upazila of Barisal District on December 26, 2021, a Hindu family was beaten up by such radicals. Sunil Mali, who runs a small pan shop to earn his livelihood, his wife Basanti Mali, and another female member of the family, Saraswati Mali have suffered severe injuries in addition to their house being raided as well in the attack carried out by the Islamist fanatics.
According to the information provided by the victim and witnesses, next to Sunil Mali’s recorded land is the land of a leader of a local NGO, Akhtar Bepari who has been constantly trying to seize the land belonging to the Hindu family. The locals of the area had presided over this issue earlier and during this discussion, Akhtar had admitted that he doesn’t have any ownership over Sunil’s land. Despite this settlement, he attacked Sunil Mali and allegedly ransacked his house, and tried to construct a path through his land. When Sunil Mali and his family tried to stop Akhtar and his people, they were beaten up brutally.
Reportedly, this ancestral property of Sunil was burned down during the Bangladesh Liberation War by the Pakistani Army; they somehow pulled themselves back but after 50 years of liberation, Sunil and his family are being hounded by the local league leader. This has led to massive unrest among the residents in the area who are demanding an immediate settlement of this issue.
As the officials at Muladi Police Station received the news, they reached the spot to bring the situation under control; the victims were also taken to the police station by the police. Later the victims were given first-aid treatment. The Officer-in-Charge of Muladi Police Station S M Maksudur Rehman has denied the claims that Sunil’s house was vandalized but has accepted that there was an attempt to make a path through his land.
This was not the only attack on the members of the minority community in December. Many incidents of anti-Hindu violence and vandalizing of Hindu temples were reported by various social media users from Bangladesh. However, the administration of the country knows how to exert an influence on its media and we witnessed this tendency even during the October riots when a media house, shortly after reporting on the rape of a Hindu minor and her relatives, retracted that story from all of their platforms. Hence, this does not surprise us that most media houses of Bangladesh steer clear of reporting on such acts of violence on Hindus; neither do they confirm them, nor do they dismiss the claims of these occurrences.
One Twitter account posted disturbing pictures of the Bhagyakul Kali temple Hindu temple in Srinagar Upazila of Munshiganj district that had been set ablaze at around 7:30 PM on December 23.
There have also been accusations of an attack on the Hazaribagh Kali Temple. The images shared by social media users suggest that miscreants had vandalized the murti of Maa Kali and attacked the devotees at the temple with sharp weapons leaving them bleeding. Hindus who were engaged in Namayagna and Kirtan were also attacked in the BDR No. 1 gate area of Hazaribagh in the heart of Bangladesh’s capital city on the 26th, said the social media user.
Election violence is a regular feature in Bangladesh as well with the Hindus bearing the brunt of the same. Legal adviser and author of The History of Pogrom & Exodus of Bangladeshi Hindus stated that there was an attack on the Hindus in Gobindapur, Moulavibazar in Shylet district during the local election. A lady named Manzu Rani Das has also been victimized, alleges the user.
Despite the emergence of regular reports of such incidents against the Hindus of Bangladesh, the international community seems to have failed to bring pressure upon the Hasina government to protect its minorities who live under constant fear.