Different organisations and eminent citizens, including leaders of minority communities, yesterday demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of the attacks on minority communities in different parts of the country in the wake of the January 5 national election.
At a press conference at Dhaka Reporters' Unity, the minority community leaders called for formation of a tribunal to try the perpetrators.
They also demanded rehabilitation of the victims who lost their homes, worship places and businesses and incurred losses.
The press conference was organised by Bangladesh Hindu- Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, reports our staff correspondent.
Advocate Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad, said since the announcement of the polls, 485 houses, 578 business establishment and 152 temples of minorities in 32 districts have been vandalised and looted, despite receiving assurance of security from the chief election commissioner.
Referring to reports from their local wings and media, he said 2,500 families were victims of attacks that took place hours after the election.
He also announced a procession and a black flag demonstration for Saturday afternoon. The procession will be brought out from the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital.
Jayanta Kumar Dev, acting general secretary of Puja Udjapan Parishad; and Nirmal Rozario, secretary general of Bangladesh Christian Association, among others, were present.
At a human chain at Jatiya Press Club, Peshajibi Samannay Parishad, a platform of professionals, also demanded a special tribunal to bring the attackers to book.
Pointing the finger at Jamaat-e-Islami for the attacks, the leaders of the parishad demanded a ban on the party.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, a parishad leader and also media adviser to the prime minister; Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, vice chancellor of Dhaka University; AFM Misbah Uddin, president of the parishad; and Abdul Jalil Bhuyian, secretary general of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, among others, spoke.
Academicians and politicians, at a rally and human chain in Shahbagh, condemned the post-polls attacks on minorities that took place particularly in Jessore, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Rangpur and Chittagong.
Addressing the human chain and rally organised by Samprodaikota-Jangibad Birodhi Mancha, a platform against communism and militancy, they alleged Jamaat-Shibir men launched the attacks, and demanded a special tribunal to try them.
Ajoy Roy, coordinator of the mancha, alleged BNP-Jamaat is instigating the attacks to force minorities, particularly the Hindus, to leave the country, which is their ultimate goal.
He asked BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to prove that her party is not involved in the attacks by identifying the culprits.
Dhaka University teacher Prof Syed Anwar Hossain; and Workers Party of Bangladesh General Secretary Anisur Rahman Mallik, among others, spoke.
Under the banner of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA), around 200 teachers at a human chain demanded a speedy trial tribunal to prosecute those who attacked minority communities, reports our DU correspondent.
Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed, the association's president, said the attacks on minorities were recurring due to lack of proper trials of the perpetrators.
Prof AJM Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan noted that criminals attacked minorities for two reasons -- to loot valuables and to foil the community spirit.
Meanwhile, some 250 pro-BNP-Jamaat teachers of the university, in a statement, demanded a proper investigation into the incident.
They claimed the government deployed adequate law enforcers to keep the BNP chairperson confined to her house, but failed to ensure security of the minorities.
In a joint statement, 351 pro-BNP-Jamaat teachers of Rajshahi University demanded an investigation into the attacks under supervision of the United Nations, reports our RU correspondent.
The teachers also demanded that the government cancel the January 5 “farcical” election.
At a human chain organised by Jege Utho Bangladesh at Cheragi Intersection in Chittagong, speakers urged all to unite and resist attacks on minorities, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, chairman of Muktijuddha Research Centre; and poet Abul Momen, among others, spoke.
Chittagong unit of Bangladesh Railway Sramik League formed a human chain at Tiger Pass intersection demanding punishment for the attackers.
Teachers, students and staff of Jahangirnagar University (JU) under the banner “Jago Bangalee” formed a human chain and also brought out a procession protesting communal attack on Hindus and demanding immediate arrest of the perpetrators, reports our JU correspondent.
Barisal city and district units of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad formed a human chain and brought out a procession demanding security for minority communities and compensation for the affected families, reports our Barisal correspondent.
Different socio-political, cultural and professional bodies formed human chains in Rangpur city protesting the attack on minorities, reports our Rangpur correspondent.