Scarred by horrors of hate crimes | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:35 AM, October 22, 2019

Scarred by horrors of hate crimes

Hindu families in Borhanuddin live in fear after zealots burn down 12 houses

Sattya Prashad Das spent his whole life teaching religious education and humanity to his students, irrespective of religions and caste in his locality in Bhola’s Borhanuddin upazila.

In a twist of fate, the former teacher of Borhanuddin High School on Sunday became a victim of inhumane attacks as religious zealots vandalised 12 houses of 11 families, including that of Sattya Prashad’s. 

They even burned down a house and assaulted the respected teacher, aged 78, with whatever the attackers found around them.

When a violent group of people were marching in processions after the Sunday clash between police and religious bigots that left four killed and over 100 injured, a group of around 100 to 150 of them around 12:00pm entered the locality, which housed 22 Hindu families.

They first vandalised a temple and then attacked the houses which were around 200 yards from Borhanuddin police station. 

They broke into the houses by knocking down doors and windows and vandalised furniture, valuables and whatever they found inside.

The devastation of the locals was still evident even 24 hours after the attack. 

Sattya Prashad said the group of attackers were throwing brickbats and pieces of wood to break down the doors and windows.

“At one point, four attackers managed to remove a window grill in the back side of the house where my wife, my daughter-in-law and her two children and I took shelter,” he said, still shell-shocked from the incident. 

“I tried to convince them that we were innocent, but they struck my hand with a piece of wood and threw brickbats towards me,” Sattya said, adding that even food was thrown at them. 

“In unbearable pain, I could not speak any longer and begged with my hands. 

“I have never witnessed such barbarity in my life. I never thought I would ever face such an attack,” he said.

While Sattya shared his horrific experience, his wife 65-year-old Anju Rani and eldest daughter Sunanda Rani Das could not hold back tears. 

“Many of my father’s students are now MPs, upazila chairmen and even respected doctor and engineers. But my father still faced this cruelty,” said Sunanda.

A traumatised Sreemoy, seven-year-old granddaughter of Anju, was seen crying in her grandmother’s arms. The little one was still worried about further attacks, said Anju.

In the incident, many of the Hindu families fled to their Muslim neighbours’ houses. Many of the Muslims in the locality had come forward to help them. 

The Hindu families were able to return home hours later and spent the night in fear. The male members of the families guarded the locality, fearing further attacks.

HSC examinee Supti Dey said she spent the night holding her mother and did not go to college yesterday. 

Like her, no school and college going children of Hindu families went to their classes yesterday and the day before.

Sujon Chandra Dey alleged that attackers carried out the mayhem for about 45 minutes but police reached the spot half an hour after the attack.

Police were seen patrolling the area yesterday. 

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