Victims feel insecure
The Hindus at Begumganj in Noakhali and Banshkhali in Chittagong remain in fear of further attack by Jamaat-Shibir and BNP after at least seven temples and 84 houses were torched, vandalised and looted on Thursday.
The Hindu families, who lost almost everything in the attacks, were living in the open with many of the victims remaining unfed until yesterday afternoon.
Locals and witnesses say no assurance from the local administration and law enforcers could bring them little comfort after the nightmares they have been through the other day.
Soon after the International Crimes Tribunal-1 delivered verdict against Jamaat-e-Islami Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee, leaders and activists of Jamaat, its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir and local BNP men launched the attacks on the Hindus, reports our Noakhali correspondent.
The attackers damaged six temples, torched 36 houses and vandalised 40 other houses after looting those at Alampur and Aladin Nagar villages in Rajganj.
The witnesses say Shibir activists Saddam and Alauddin and BNP activists Khalil and Ibrahim led the attacks.
Equipped with various sharp weapons, iron rods and bamboos, more than 100 people attacked the villages around 4:00pm. The Hindu people had to run away to save their lives and witness the atrocities from distance.
Police and firefighters arrived in the evening, but it was already too late.
During a visit to the villages, many of the victims were seen struggling to overcome the shock in vain. Many were found sitting speechless with no food or additional clothes.
Santana Rani, who was still in panic, said the attackers had threatened to return later. Rani Chowdhury, another victim, termed the attack a revenge on them as a Hindu had given witness against Sayedee.
Noakhali District Administrator Dr Zafar Ullah visited the spots and promised to allocate Tk 1 lakh for each of the temples and Tk 50,000 for each of the 76 affected families. Deputy Commissioner Sirajul Islam distributed 50 kilograms of rice to each of the families and the mayor of Chowmuhani Municipality gave a tonne of rice for the victims.
The Gandhi Ashram Trust also started distributing food and clothes among them.
Panic gripped the Hindus of Banshkhali upazila once again as Jamaat-Shibir men equipped with arms brought out a procession yesterday, reports our Staff Correspondent of Chittagong.
"We are still in fear," said Amrita Karan of Jaldi union, adding, â€œWe still do not know what would happen tomorrow?"
Witnesses said the Jamaat-Shibir procession rounded Napora and Puichhari villages after Juma prayers. They however fled as soon as Rapid Action Battalion and Border Guard Bangladesh personnel appeared.
Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Abdul Mannan visited the villages and assured the victims of proper security.
Contacted, MA Sabur, officer-in-Charge of Banshkhali police, said a platoon of BGB men and additional three platoon police personnel were in hand to ward off further attack.