We condemn the attack on three families
MEMBERS of the minority community have reasons to be concerned over some recent incidents in which quite a few of their families came under attack. In the latest attempt at grabbing land, some hoodlums attacked three Hindu families in Puthia under Rajshahi district and at least 12 people had to be hospitalised with injuries. It happened only a few weeks after land grabbers, allegedly masquerading as developers, tried to evict a Hindu family from their home in Dhaka city.
The Puthia incident reportedly also bore a mark of political vendetta as the locals believe that the victims were punished for voting a particular party in the last general elections. So, it is not only the land and property which work as the driving force behind such assaults, but it seems the vulnerable are also paying a price for freely exercising their voting right!
Now, this cannot continue in a society having an iota of respect for the rule of law and rights of citizens, irrespective of caste, creed and religious identity. It is obvious that the attackers exploit vulnerability of minorities. Then the question that arises is, why should they be so vulnerable? The constitution and the laws of the land guarantee equal rights to all citizens. So, the government and the law enforcers must exercise their responsibility of safeguarding the rights of the minorities to the fullest extent.
Such a gross violation of rights of any segment of the society will have to be dealt with an iron hand, because that is where the real test of a democratic and pluralistic society lies.
The Puthia incident should send a strong signal to the government that our traditions of religious tolerance and communal harmony will have to be stoutly defended against the machinations of a handful of communal and boorish elements. They must be dealt with firmly if we do not want to be seen as a nation not capable of protecting rights of all citizens. It is definitely not enough to talk about minority rights -- something more has to be done to stop the criminals exploiting their miseries.
The matter should be fully investigated and the culprits and their mentors, if any, will have to be identified and legally proceeded against. They must not go unpunished.