Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Hindu family comes under attack in Lalmonirhat, Bangladesh, 4 hurt

Four people including two women were stabbed when supporters of a Jamaat-e-Islami activist attacked the house of a Hindu family in Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat this morning.

They also set the house on fire during the attack, which was made in a bid to grab the land, reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent quoting police.

Later, police arrested two people for their involvement in the attack and land grabbing.

At least 25 miscreants led by Abul Hossain stormed into the house of one Pushpa Rani Sen at Shafirhat village around 9:30am for grabbing her two bighas of land, said Amiruzzaman, officer-in-charge of Patgram Police Station.

Being resisted by the family members, the criminals torched their house and also stabbed four family members including Pushpa, the OC added.

But locals rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire, he added.

The attackers left the scene before police reached there.

The injured — Pushpa, 68, and her two sons Shyamol Chandra Sen, 45, and Kamol Chandra Sen, 38, and Shyamol’s wife Dipali Rani Sen, 30, were rushed to Patgram Upazila Health Complex.

Pushpa filed a case after Abul Hossain and his three brothers occupied the land of Pushpa, widow of Debendra Nath Sen, showing fake documents two decades back.

After a court delivered its verdict in favour of Pushpa on September 4 in 2012, the Hindu family started living there.

Today, Abul Hossain went there again to grab the land, the OC said.

Source: The Daily Star

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Hindu households, temple attacked in Bangladesh

DHAKA: A mob of nearly 3,000 attacked Hindu households and a temple in eastern Bangladesh after two youths from the community allegedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. 

Police on Monday arrested 17 people, including the principal of Bagmara Madrasa, for the attack on the temple and over two dozen households at Homna in Comilla district, about 100km south east of Dhaka, last week. 

"We so far arrested 17 people and some of them made confessional statements regarding the attack. A manhunt is under way to arrest the rest of the culprits," police chief of Homna, Aslam Shikdar said. 

He said suspected mastermind of the attack Nazrul Islam is still on the run. 

The local police chief said steps were under way to put the accused on trial on charges of attacking the Hindu households and the temple under a planned manner. 

A makeshift police camp was setup at the village where the incident took place on April 26 following rumours that two Hindu youths had allegedly insulted the prophet in a Facebook post. 

Earlier reports said culprits mobilized attackers mostly belonging to fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and several other ultra-right groups who ransacked the temple and the nearby households and looted some valuables. 

"The attack continued for some 20 minutes but during the time, the culprits preferred not to injure anyone ... our initial investigation found it was a pre-planned attack as they used loudspeakers and distributed leaflets to mobilize the attack," Shikdar said. 

People at the neighbourhood said nearly 3,000 attackers, mostly from outside the locality, staged the attack as the village elders were set to hold a meeting to resolve the issue of the alleged defamation of the prophet. 

Shikdar said police immediately rushed to the scene but reached the remote village only when the attackers had fled.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bangladesh Takes Center Stage on Capitol Hill as HAF Marks 11th Annual D.C. Advocacy Days

Washington, D.C. (June 11, 2014) --The plight of religious minorities in Bangladesh took center stage on Capitol Hill yesterday, as the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) marked its 11th Annual D.C. Advocacy Days.  Hindu American delegates from around the country met with nearly 80 Congressional offices, asking them to support a bipartisan Congressional letter, spearheaded by Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Aaron Schock (R-IL), that urges U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to make human rights and the protection of minorities in Bangladesh a priority in U.S. - Bangladesh relations. 
Rep. Gabbard receiving HAF's Pride of the Community Award from Rishi Bhutada, Board member
"Promoting a stable and democratic Bangladesh is important to U.S. economic, political and security interests in the South Asia region," wrote Reps. Gabbard and Schock in a message circulated to their colleagues earlier today. "Under domestic law, the Bangladesh government is obliged to enforce minority land rights, provide restitution for illegally seized land, and protect religious and ethnic minorities against violence and discrimination. To date, the Bangladesh government has taken no significant steps to compensate individuals, primarily Hindus, who lost their land under the 1974 Vested Property Act. Moreover, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission has been largely ineffective, thereby denying fundamental rights to indigenous people in that region."
Beyond Bangladesh, HAF's delegation advocated for a range of foreign and domestic policy issues of importance to the Hindu American community, including strengthening U.S. - India ties, the confirmation of Vivek Murthy as the U.S. Surgeon General, and the Freedom of Faith Act (H.R. 4460) which permanently reauthorizes the special immigrant provision for non-minister religious workers. 
"The breadth of HAF's policy initiatives demonstrates the growing prominence of a Hindu American voice in all realms of U.S. policy," said Harsh Voruganti, Esq., HAF's Associate Director for Public Policy. "From Capitol Hill, to strategic meetings with foreign embassies, the U.S. Department of State, and influential think tanks, HAF is playing a leading role in addressing a number of critical domestic and foreign policy issues facing our country."
The day's meetings culminated in an evening gala reception attended by more than 200 people, including Members of Congress, Congressional staffers, interfaith and religious freedom advocates, and leaders of the Hindu American community.
Congressmen Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) and member of the Congressional India Caucus, was honored at the Capitol Hill reception with HAF's Friend of the Community Award for consistently calling attention to the plight of Bangladeshi Hindus and for his work in strengthening relations between the U.S. and India.  
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), a senior member of HFAC and the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, was similarly awarded with the HAF Friend of the Community Award for promoting awareness of human rights violations against religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
HAF further recognized Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), member of HFAC and the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, with the Pride of the Community award for inspiring young Hindus as the first Hindu American elected to Congress.
Among the evening's other awardees, were Dr. DC Rao, Board Member of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, who received HAF's Dharma Seva Award, and Steve Spritzer, Director of Programs at the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, with HAF Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism. 
Finally, HAF's Award for the Advancement of the Dharmic Arts and Humanities went to Manjari Sharma, an internationally acclaimed artist, who has educated the public about Hindu beliefs through her most recent project, Darshan, on Hindu Gods and Goddesses.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Attacks to grab Hindu properties rising in Bangladesh

On May 11, 2014, a team comprising almost 200 radical Muslim youths led by Bajlur Rahman Nayeem, local leader of Awami League at Niyamatpur sub-district within the district of Naogaon in Bangladesh, assailed a temple of the minority Hindu community located beside the crematorium there. It has been learnt, radicals came in motorbikes and also on foot and within a few minutes both temple and hallowed deity within it were defiled, destroyed and also razed to the ground sending a shudder of fear among Hindus living in the adjoining villages of Maharajpur, Kochpara, Kutubpur and Manpur. The Shiva temple was built up only a few months back and Kirtan used to happen in the temple premises daily in the evening. The attack took place while Hindus were preparing for Kirtan. The attack, as found later on, was an aggression to grab the Hindu property.
As part of the attack, a few Hindus including Dayal Chandra Seal, Dwijen Chabdra Barman and Naren Karmakar were beaten mercilessly and they had to flee as a result. When asked, Kamal Chandra Barman, Matarirani Barman, Jabarani Barman, Sundarirani Karmakar living in the villages of Kochpara and Maharajpur, expressed their horror. While they were talking to press, their in-laws were found to ask them not to utter a single word. What will happen if Hindus lose the crematorium to viciousness of Nayeem? Hindus have no other option if it is lost. Lal Bahadu Seal, priest in the temple, while speaking, termed the Islamic approach as a cruel endeavor to suppress Hindu tribal people in the locality. Minority Hindus in the area have been using the crematorium for centuries. Abdul Mannan, local member of the council, termed Hindus as legal owners of the entire property and that the act was not only derogatory but brought dishonor for the whole of Bangladesh also. Abul Kalam Azad, general secretary of sub-district committee of Awami League, said that the entire development had disturbed the party in the district and local police and administration was instructed to adopt all measures to detain culprits. He also made it clear that Awami League had no relation to it.
Obaidul Haque, officer-in-charge of Niymatpur police station, went to the spot and investigated the incident. Sajjadul Hussain (UNO) also visited the spot. But Hindus feel that Bajlur Rahman Nayeem wouldn’t have dared to attack had not he been supported by radical Muslims.
Such attacks to grab minority Hindu properties are getting common ever more throughout Bangladesh. On March 4, 2014, the residence and adjoining property of Dhirendranath Dey, minority Hindu individual living in No. 7 Ward of Kodial Municipality in the district of Barisal, was grabbed by a group of radical Muslims forcibly. The entire property is worth 25 crore taka and the Hindu family, as a result, has turned into mere paupers.
On April 6, 2014, a group radical Muslims unleashed a ferocious attack on the Hindu hermitage of Sukdeb Goswami located in the village of Mandra within the sub-district of Kotalipara in the district of Gopalgunj. The sole intent was to get hold of the hermitage’s property and hence, the attack took place when Hindu religious rituals were in full swing. Even if Islamists failed to gain anything or terrorize Hindus en masse, 30 Hindus got injured highly. They were taken to the local health centre for treatment.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

200-Year-Old Kali Temple Torched: Hindus and Buddhists continue to be targeted in Bangladesh

The Daily Star, 20 April 2013

Unidentified criminals set a 200-year-old Hindu temple ablaze at Rajoir upazila in Madaripur in the wee hours [of April 19th].

Police and locals said miscreants torched the Kali Mandir at Mahendradi village sometime after midnight.
Dadon Kanta, chairman of Haridashdi-Mahendradi upazila, suspects that Jamaat or BNP men are behind the attack.

Police, meanwhile, arrested Haridashdi-Mahendradi union unit BNP President Abul Kalam Azad yesterday afternoon suspecting his involvement in the incident.

Mofazzal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Rajoir Police Station, said they were yet to identify the attackers and that they were investigating the incident.

Uttam Banerjee, president of the temple managing committee, said locals rushed to the spot on seeing the flames but the temple had been badly burnt before they could bring the flames under control.

In December last year, miscreants vandalised some idols of the same temple, he added.

Temples of the Hindus in several districts came under attacks in the past few months.

Mahmuda Begum, a housewife who lives next to the temple, said they saw the temple on fire around 3:00 am and began to scream.

Harinath Bhattachariya, whose ancestors had donated the land for building the temple, said they were upset to see repeated attacks on the temple.

Mohadev Mridha, another villager, said, “My father and grandfather used to offer prayers at the 200-year-old temple that burnt down before our eyes.

Nasirul Islam, additional superintendent of police in Madaripur, visited the spot and said law enforcers were gathering information and were trying to catch the culprits. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Shop looted by BCL, BNP men in Lalmonirhat, Bangladesh

Lalmonirhat Hindus

Shop looted by BCL, BNP men

 HC orders arrest of land grabbers

   Star Report

A gang of local Chhatra League and BNP men attacked an electronics supply shop of a Hindu trader and looted goods worth around Tk 1 lakh at Kulaghat Bazar of Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila on Sunday night.

The attackers also forced the businessman to sign a blank non-judicial stamp before fleeing the scene with the loot on an easy bike (battery-run three-wheeler), reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent.

Police yesterday arrested three people at Kulaghat village of the upazila in connection with the attack. They are Farooque Hossain, 25, ward unit BCL joint secretary, and Kulaghat union unit BNP members Enamul Haque, 23, and Amzad Hossain, 30.

Shop owner Nayan Chandra Roy, 30, of Kulaghat village said about six to seven miscreants, with sharp weapons in their hands, stormed his shop around 9:30pm and looted electrical goods. “I don't know why they attacked my shop, looted the goods and forced me to sign the blank non-judicial stamp,” he mentioned.

Nayan added that though he had no transaction with any of the attackers, he knew their identities as they all were from the same village.

Locals said pedestrians and other traders at the bazar witnessed the attack, but did not dare to resist the armed gang, which is notorious for snatching, torture and looting at Kulaghat Bazar, Kulaghat Boat Ghat and Lalmonirhat-Fulbari road.

On receiving information, a police team visited the spot and later raided some houses in the village to nab the culprits. The effort went in vain.

The victim Nayan Chandra Roy filed a case with Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station early yesterday, accusing six people of launching the attack on him.

Three of the accused were arrested yesterday, while the rest, Biplob Hossain, Azadul Islam and Lion Islam, are on the run. The three escapees are members of Kulaghat union unit BNP, said party sources.

Contacted, Mansur Ali, officer-in-charge (investigation) at the police station, said police had ensured protection for Nayan and his family members.

Arrestee Farooque Hossain during primary interrogation told police that the gang forced Nayan to sign the blank stamp to terrify the Hindu trader into not complaining about the incident at the police station and also to blackmail the trader later.

Law enforcers have recovered the non-judicial stamp from Farooque's possession, said police.
Talking to The Daily Star, Kulaghat union unit BNP president Rezaul Islam claimed that none of his party men were involved with the looting of the Hindu trader's shop.

On November 4 last year, Hindu village Satpatki Majhipara of Mohendranagar union in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila came under attack by some BNP men.

During the January 5 national polls, BNP men attacked the house of a Hindu woman UP member at Karnapur village of Mogholhat union in the same upazila.

Besides, attacks on the houses and businesses of religious minorities by local BNP and Sramik League men have been reported in the upazila on January 6 and 7.


The High Court yesterday directed the superintendent of police in Lalmonirhat to arrest those responsible for forcibly grabbing a plot of land belonging to a Hindu family in Lalmonirhat within 48 hours.

The court came up with the directive in response to a writ petition filed by a rights organisation. The HC also ordered the district police chief to submit a report before it after complying with the court's directive in seven days.

On February 9, a group of Awami League men picked up Bhabani Kanta Sen and his two sons of Rasulpur village in Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat, and held them hostage at the house of party leader Nazrul Islam in the same area.

Later, the three were forced to sign a non-judicial stamp stating that they were handing over the ownership of a 32-decimal plot of land to Rabiul Islam Miron, president of Bawra union unit AL.

The HC also asked the inspector general of police to probe the land grabbing allegation and submit a report before it in the next 30 days.

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014