16 noted citizens demand justice for attacks on minorities during pandemic
Sixteen noted citizens today demanded justice for the incidents of attacks on minority communities, violence against woman, land grabbing, harassment of common people, and torture of journalists that happened during the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In particular, they demanded stern legal action against the perpetrators involved in the torture, harassment and human rights deprivation of the country's minority community people.
Protesting the incidents and demanding their prevention, the noted citizens, who represent different national-level civil society and human rights platforms, sent separate letters of memorandum to the home minister and law minister, said a press release.
The noted citizens are: Sultana Kamal, Justice Nizamul Huq, Hameeda Hossain, Iftekharuzzaman, Khushi Kabir, Prof Abul Barkat, Advocate Rana Dasgupta, Meghna Guhathakurta, Sara Hossain, Advocate ZI Khan Panna, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Sanjeeb Drong, Advocate Tobarak Hossain, Advocate Subrata Chowdhury, Kajal Debnath and Shamsul Huda.
They said hundreds of people died with coronavirus infections while several law enforcement agency members, doctors and health service workers also died of the disease in the line of duty.
"At the same time, we sadly learnt that even in this crisis, fear has been transmitted among minority communities through attacks on the houses of both religious and ethnic minority people and injuring them, grabbing and failed attempt to grab their lands, harassing innocent people after spreading rumour over demeaning religion, carrying out attacks on temples etc," the signatories said in the joint letter, which was attached to the press release.
Women and children were not spared from such incidents, they added.
Referring to media reports and different social organisations, they said at least 30 incidents of violence against minority community people took place in April and May in the country amid shutdown.
On May 15, houses of 10 Hindu families were vandalised and a Hindu youth was arrested on allegation of demeaning religion in Bhola's Monpura.
Two days later, miscreants torched the homestead of Baul Ronesh Thakur, a prominent disciple of Baul Shah Abdul Karim, in Sunamganj's Derai.
"Besides, there is the allegation that in this time of coronavirus different controversial provisions of the Digital Security Act have been misused to suppress and harass journalists, social workers, and common citizens who are active in social network medium to exercise their freedom of speech guaranteed by the constitution and legal right to disclose information," they said.
The noted citizens said they believe stern action against the perpetrators should be taken right now.
Otherwise, they may take advantage of the coronavirus crisis and act proactively in deteriorating peace and discipline in the society which may not only tarnish the government's image but try to create instability in the country, they added.