Attack on temples continues
WE are outraged by a group of criminals torching a 200-year-old Hindu temple at Rajoir upazila in Madaripur. This adds to a long list of places of worship coming under assault since the pronouncement of capital sentence to Saydee on February 28. As many as 94 Hindu temples have been attacked in March alone.
Attack on temples is the worst of crimes that anyone can commit because it is a direct assault on the values of a pluralistic society whose inner strength lies in communal harmony, coexistence and peaceful pursuit of one's religion. Respect for other faiths, their places of worship and symbols is anchored in our cultural heritage and therefore is a prized object for us. The wave of violence on Hindu community has come about on a scale that is unprecedented and therefore so worrying.
It is undoubtedly the state's responsibility to protect minorities, their places of worship and ways of life. But that this government did not foresee it coming and has been somewhat caught unawares is indefensible. Also incomprehensible is the local administrations' failure to throw security rings around potentially vulnerable minority community pockets in the country. The government has 'failed to discharge its constitutional obligation to protect the minority'.
The High Court rule on April 4 directing the government to form a high powered committee to investigate recent incidents of violence and attack on religious minorities and submit a comprehensive report in three months should be acted upon in all seriousness. A part of the ruling, however, related to government having been directed to submit a report in two weeks on the initiatives taken after the attacks. Has it been complied with?
In specific terms, the incidents are a collective shame, and with the government failing to protect them, it is highly imperative for the people to come forward and stand by the minorities at their hour of need.
While it falls on the government to protect minorities, the majority community is obligated to keep tab on the local situations and foil any attempt by fanatical elements and other vested quarters who are always up to angling in troubled waters. To this end, the clarion call by the rights activists and the political leaders for building impregnable national unity to prevent recurrence of communal violence acquires a resounding relevance.