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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

“They attacked us because we are Hindus”: Anti-Hindu pogrom in Narail, B’desh

Bangladesh has witnessed yet another pogrom against Hindus over allegations of ‘blasphemy’ against Islam’s Prophet Mohammad. This time, dozens of Hindu homes, shops and temples have been targeted in a village in Narail district. This is the largest such attack after last year’s widespread violence during Durga Puja over fabricated ‘blasphemy’ when a Muslim man deliberately placed a Quran at the feet of a Sri Hanuman murti in a Durga Puja pandal in Comilla.

As per a report in The Daily Star

Deepali Rani Saha can never forget this Friday night when she watched her house burn down. “After one group looted all our valuables, another group came and found our door open. As there was nothing left to loot, they set our home on fire.” 

While the looters attacked, the 62-year-old was hiding under the bed in a shed adjacent to the house with her son Gobinda. “They could not break in [where we were hiding] as it was locked. They then attacked the temple next door and vandalised the murti.”

Deepali’s was among the three homes and dozens of shops that were vandalised or burnt down in Sahapara village in Dighalia union of Narail’s Lohagara upazila. The attacks were carried out by mobs protesting a Facebook post that reportedly hurt (Muslim) religious sentiments. Locals alleged the post was made by Akash Saha, an 18-year-old college student of the village. They gathered after Juma (Friday) prayers and protested in front of the student’s house, demanding his arrest.

Deepali stood embracing her eight-month-old granddaughter Rai Saha in front of the charred remains of their home. She pointed out how even little Rai’s possessions were not spared. “Only because the student is Hindu and I [too] am Hindu, my house was burnt down. “I don’t know how long this threat of violence will haunt us. Who will give us justice? Who will give us security? … If I were in the house while they set it on fire, I would have died. God saved me. But is this any way to survive? All I have now is the sari on my body.”

Many people from the administration have been coming since yesterday morning and giving assurances of safety, but she is unconvinced. “I am not asking for money; I am not asking for help. I am seeking answers — why was my house set on fire?”

Her son Gobinda, a betel leaf trader, sat on yard sobbing on the phone, with relatives calling from abroad, as he listed all they had lost. His wife Chandra Saha was not home the night of the attack. When she returned yesterday, she stood shell-shocked in front of the carnage. “I don’t want to stay here with my children. I don’t want to be a victim,” she said.

Burnt belongings in the house of Deepali Rani. Even the tin roof got charred after the house was set on fire by a mob on Friday. (Photo: The Daily Star)

Bangladesh police detained Akash’s father Ashoke Saha to “bring the situation under control” on Friday, while they prepared to file a case under the notorious Digital Security Act against Akash. None of the attackers, however, have been arrested yet reports Daily Star.

Police complicity with Islamist attackers

Local Hindus allege that police was complicit with the attackers and did not nothing to stop them.

“Police are on guard in the village, but we cannot trust them. After detaining Ashoke on Friday, the officer-in-charge and upazila nirbahi officer told everyone that they were deploying additional forces and that our community would be safe. The attack took place within a few hours,” said 65-year-old Shibnath Saha, president of the village’s Radha-Govinda temple.

“When we were being attacked, the police were there. They were watching from a distance and no one came to our rescue. The police can no longer be trusted and that is why people are leaving the village,” said Beauty Rani, a former female member of the reserved seat in Dighalia Union Parishad.

Hindu exodus

Rani added that most of the able-bodied people have left the village after the attack. “Almost all houses are locked. Only the elders of some families are home. They too are scared.”

After the attack, an eerie and empty silence took over after the 108 Hindu homes in Sahapara village.

Beauty Rani echoed the same.

After the attack, an eerie and empty silence took over after the 108 Hindu homes in Sahapara village.

Gopal Saha, a fertiliser dealer at Dighalia Bazar, described how he was assaulted by the mobs – “I have been doing business in the market for 22 years. The only reason they beat me up was that I was Hindu. The accused boy’s house is far away from mine. How is this my fault? … As a Hindu, I don’t feel safe in this village anymore.”

Hindus protest

Rights bodies across the country condemned the communal attack. Ain o Salish Kendra in a statement, said, “This is not a new incident. We have seen such attacks before — these keep repeating because there is no independent investigation and no probe [is done] in due time.”

Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigoshthi also issued a statement saying the impunity given to perpetrators of communal violence paves the way for more such attacks. Chandra Nath Podder, general secretary of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and a mathematics professor at Dhaka University, visited the spot and said, “What kind of people do this? Are we living in a civilised society? I demand a prompt investigation.”

“Within a month, Narail has seen two communal attacks. The local administration and political elites in the area can barely criticise these attacks, let alone prevent them,” a statement by some eminent Bangladeshi citizens read.

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  1. Bangladesh is no longer a safe place for the Hindus and the other minority groups. In 1971 when B’Desh won freedom, the total Hindu population there was 35% now that figure stands at 8%. Gradually, the Hindus will be eliminated in less than a decade. Most of them will flee to India as refugee and many will die in Hindu pogrom perpetrated by Muslims now and then, Because of the recent spate of Islamic violence which the B’Desh Govt. is miserably failed to tackle, Hindus are experiencing genocidal attack. It’s not a riot. Hidus are not waging counter attack (any)! Only they fall victim to Islamic violence. The issues are, as always, quite trivial and in most cases pre-fabricated by Islamic Jihadists there. Police stand as a silent spectator there while the Muslims go on rampaging Hindu properties, gutting down Hidu houses, killing their males and raping the women. This well-orchestrated violence takes place now and then. They have injected fear-psychosis in the hearts of the B’Deshi Hindus and that’s what the extremist Muslims want there. Human Rights Comission plays deaf & dumb. There is no outcry in other Muslim countries denoucing such barbaric acts. A SHAME TO HUMANITY!


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