Jamaat-Shibir men defy joint patrol, chase Hindus
Panic haunts around 600 families belonging to the Hindu community at eight villages of Bawra and Jongra unions in Patgram upazila under the district as Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir launched several attacks on the minority community during the last two months.
Lastly on Sunday midnight, Parapukur Mandir, a heritage temple at Shafinagar village of Bawra union was attacked and six idols of gods and goddesses were vandalised there, during the countrywide hartal called by Jamaat.
Joint forces started patrolling the areas on Monday night but the minority people are too panicked to lead a normal life as Jamaat-Shibir activists continued threatening them to withdraw the cases filed for attack on the minority people.
Seeing a few Hindus walking along Baura-Shafinagar road in Patgram upazila yesterday, Jamaat-Shibir men chased them.
“Shafinagar is our native village, Bangladesh is our motherland, we were born here and we want to die here. But our peaceful living is threatened due to repeated attacks by Jamaat-Shibir men," said Harendra Nath Roy, caretaker of Parapukur Mandir.
“Due to frequent attacks and threats by Jamaat-Shibir men many Hindus are still out of their homes. Around one hundred Hindu families in the village are virtually barred from moving freely in the local bazaar for weeks,” said Sunil Chandra Sen, 48, a leader of the local Hindu community.
Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men attacked Hindus in the area and vandalised, looted and torched 18 shops on October 27, during the countrywide 60-hour hartal enforced by BNP-led 18-party alliance, locals said.
On October 29, a case was lodged with Patgram police station accusing 111 Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men in connection with the incident.
Local Hindus blamed Bawra Union Parishad (UP) chairman Habibul Haque Basuniya and UP member Habibur Rahman Manik for 'instigating' the Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men to attack on the minority people.
Denying the allegation, Habibul Haque Basuniya said he formed a peace committee comprising 25 members from both the Muslim and the Hindu communities in the village to restore peaceful environment yesterday noon.
Around 60 Hindu families at Ghoshpara village of Jongra union in Patgram upazila are also passing their days amid panic as Jamaat-Shibir men vandalised and looted five shops and two houses of Hindus there on November 28, during the BNP-led opposition called three-day countrywide blockade.
A case was lodged with Patgram police station accusing 40 people including three identified Jamaat and Shibir leaders for the incident.
"Many people in the village, including myself, are still staying away from homes as Jamaat-Shibir men continued threatening us," said Dhanjit Chandra Ghosh, a local.