03:50 AM, March 30, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:52 AM, March 30, 2013

Stop attacks on minorities

Urge noted citizens; NHRC chief frustrated over failure to protect them

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Staff Correspondent

The formation of citizens' committees composed of political leaders, intellectuals, cultural activists and general masses in every locality is a must to resist repressions on the minority communities, speakers told a roundtable yesterday.
They said torture on the minorities, which has been a recurrent phenomenon across the country, is now increasing geometrically.
The recent attacks on them, particularly the Hindus, have serious dimensions in terms of its characteristics which lead to a silent but rapid migration of the persecuted people, they added.
Sampreeti Mancha, a citizens' platform, organised the roundtable titled "Duties to resist minority repression" at TSC cafeteria at Dhaka University campus.
The lawmakers will have to go to their own constituencies not only to stand beside the victims but also to unite local leaders and people to raise a defence against any repression, the speakers observed.
They also suggested the lawmakers initiate a new cultural revolution in their localities.
Pointing at the recent attacks on the minorities across the country, Prof Ajoy Roy, president of the Mancha, said the migration rate of the Hindus has increased to a large extent with the wealthy and meritorious people of this community leaving the country.
The marginal Hindus, especially the poor, are the victims of the recent attacks, he said, adding, "We have to stand against the attackers and resist them unitedly."
Expressing frustration over the recent attacks on the minorities, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman said there will be no Hindu citizen left in Bangladesh after 20 years.
"Because we did whatever is needed to force them [Hindus] out of the country and we have always failed to do what was needed to protect them," he added.
The NHRC chief cautioned that whatever has happened in the recent time was merely a rehearsal and the final act was yet to come.
"Are we -- the citizens, civil society members and the government -- prepared for that? It's not the time for talks only; it's high time we came forward and acted to resist that quarter which is playing a game to destroy the state," he said.
"We have to form citizens' committee in every vulnerable areas," Prof Mizanur said, demanding that the government quickly rebuild the damaged houses and temples of the minorities as it did in Ramu.
Kajol Debnath, presidium member of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, suggested the government get prepared to thwart possible violence centring war crimes verdicts to be delivered in the coming days.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Mujahidul Islam Selim, its presidium member Haider Akbar Khan Rono, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum Sanjib Drong and Mancha leaders Sourav Sikdar and Robayet Ferdous also spoke.

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