10 killed in 3 months
Ten religious minority people were killed, 366 injured and eight women raped in the country in the first three months of this year, a report by Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad said yesterday.
The incidents of repression of religious minorities include attack, abduction, rape, looting and vandalising households, businesses and temples, land grabbing, extortion, and eviction of minorities from their houses and business establishments.
Of the killing incidents, the brutal murder of Jogeswar Dasadhikari, a Hindu priest at a temple in Debiganj of Panchagarh, got the attention of the international media in February. Criminals slit the throat of the priest just after dawn on February 21 and fled the scene firing shots and exploding crude bombs that left two devotees injured.
In most of the cases, the perpetrators used political power and influence to oppress the minorities, said the report titled “Human Rights Situation of Minorities in Bangladesh- Jan-March 2016”.
The report was released at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity. It was prepared based on reports run by 14 newspapers and case documents.
The media reported that some ruling Awami League lawmakers, leaders and their supporters were involved in the attacks. But they haven't been brought to book yet, read the report.
Speaking at the press conference, General Secretary Rana Das Gupta of the Parishad said: “We have noticed that influential people and some ruling party men committed the crimes. Besides, local administrations failed to protect the religious minorities.”
Most of the attacks were carried out on the minorities for grabbing land, he added.
The Parishad demanded the government probe all the incidents of repression and take stern action against the offenders.
Local activists of the AL, the BNP and other political parties join hands to evict religious minorities from their homes. All the parties show a similar attitude to the minorities, said the report.
The police and local administrations, according to the study, in many instances were reluctant to record complaints. They even backed the influential people to grab land.
Vandalising temples and desecrating idols have also become common. Criminals sexually harass and rape religious minority girls to create panic among the community, it added.
The report also stated that the attacks on minorities increased significantly since the beginning of the union parishad polls across the country last month.
At least 8,250 families and institutions of the minorities have come under attack. The supporters of the AL and its rebel candidates and the followers of the BNP and other party candidates carried out attacks on the minorities over the elections in Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Faridpur, Nilphamari and some other districts.
Because of such incidents, religious minorities are compelled to leave their houses, land and even the country. Things have worsened due to the culture of impunity. If such a situation continues, minorities will become extinct in Bangladesh, said the report.
Top leaders of the rights platform were present.