Protests against minority repression sweep country
Waves of protest by different socio-political, cultural and professional bodies swept over the country yesterday with the demand for stern action against the people who attacked Hindus in different regions during and after the January 5 national election.
The Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) demanded due compensation to the victimised families from a protest rally in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club.
BFUJ President Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul said the nation had failed to protect the minorities and the entire nation had to take its responsibility.
Speakers at the rally compared the barbaric attacks with that carried out by the Pakistani army and its local collaborators in 1971.
Terming the attacks as crimes against humanity, they demanded a ban on all communal organisations, including Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir, immediately.
Samprodayikota Birodhi Sangbadik Mancha and Karmajibi Nari denounced the attacks through separate human chains in front of Jatiya Press Club.
A civil society body, "Samprodayik Sohingsotar Protirodhe Bikhuddho Janata", headed by rights activist Khusi Kabir asked why the government and Election Commission, despite being aware of vulnerability of Hindus, could not protect them from the post-election persecution.
At a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity, it asked for an explanation about why law enforcers were not present at the scenes during the attacks. The organisation demanded banning of communal and religion-based politics through an executive order.
Manusher Jonno Foundation and associate bodies issued a press statement calling upon the progressive forces to stand united against such violence. The organisation will send aid to the affected areas.
Writers, artists, teachers, students, labourers, professionals, cultural and political activists gathered in front of the National Museum, demanding a neutral and acceptable inquiry into the attacks. They also urged creation of a specialised law enforcement agency to resist communal repression.
Sushasoner Jannoy Nagorik (SHUJAN) formed a human chain, while several progressive organisations held a rally in front of the museum.
Presidium Member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh Ruhin Hossain Prince said the ruling party leaders wanted to grab Hindus' land, while the opposition wanted to annihilate them from the country to secure their vote bank by pushing Hindus to more vulnerable condition.
SHUJAN Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar said culture of impunity was responsible for recurrence of such attacks.
In a statement, Bangladesh Rukhey Darao urged all to resist such repression and said its representatives would visit the affected areas.
SHUJAN held a human chain in Rajshahi city's Shaheb Bazar with Rajshahi Live Stock Society, Poultry Association, Female Children Advocacy Forum and Bikoshito Nari Network, urging the government to ensure security of minority communities.
The Rajshahi Union of Journalists and Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council held similar programmes at the same venue later.
From a human chain on the campus, Rajshahi University Progressive Teachers, Officers and Employees demanded immediate formation of a special tribunal to try the attackers. They also urged immediate rehabilitation of the victims who lost homes, businesses and property.
Samprodayik Sampriti Parishad and Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee jointly formed a human chain in front of Chittagong Press Club, demanding enactment of a new law to punish repressors of minorities.
Similar protests were staged by different Hindu community associations and socio-cultural bodies in Bandarban. From a human chain in front of Bandarban Press Club, Sanatoni Samaj Bandarban said, “If attacks on minorities continue, the nation's secular values will be at stake”.
Forming a human chain in front of Mymensingh Press Club, Mymensingh Sangbadik Union said minorities were living in fear for the state's failure to ensure equal rights of the citizens.