Attack on Hindu homes shameful
We strongly condemn the attack on at least 75 Hindu houses by several hundred Hefazat-e-Islam supporters in Sunamganj's Noagaon village on the morning of March 17. The attackers vandalised and looted the houses leaving 35 of them badly damaged and 40 more partially damaged. Carrying locally made weapons, Hefazat supporters from adjacent villages gathered at a bazar in Noagaon village around 9:00am, and launched the attack about an hour later. However, the mayhem then continued for an hour as the police did not reach the spot before 11am. Neither did they arrest anyone nor file any case over the attack.
The motive for the attack apparently was a Facebook post made by one of the village residents, who criticised one of the Hefazat leaders for condemning the celebration of Bangabandhu's birth centenary and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit. At this the Hefajat supporters got angry, and they even got the Naogaon villagers to hand the man over to the police the night before. Why then did they attack the entire Hindu community the next morning? What was their crime? This desire to hand out collective punishment on innocents who simply belong to a minority community shows a very disturbing and destructive mindset. It also demonstrates the dangers of intolerance that leads to such violence.
The fact that the Hefazat supporters felt so emboldened to launch the attack is also worrying. Naturally, they must have thought that their actions will not lead to any dire consequences for them, as violence carried out against minority groups often do get overlooked and ignored.
That is particularly why the authorities must arrest the attackers and punish them accordingly. There have been so many cases in the past where attackers of minority communities have been let off the hook for one reason or another, emboldening more and more such attacks. This cannot be allowed to continue. The authorities must not attempt to brush this incident under the rug as they have done on so many other occasions. They must bring the perpetrators to justice and provide immediate support to the victims.