47 temples, 700 Hindu houses torched across Bangladesh

Islamic activists have attacked dozens of Hindu temples and hundreds of homes across Bangladesh since an Islamist leader was sentenced to death for war crimes last month, a Hindu group said on Wednesday

Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, a group which looks after Hindu temples,

said 47 temples and at least 700 Hindu houses had either been torched or vandalised since the verdict against Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Sayedee, vice-president of the country’s largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to hang on February 28 for crimes including rape and murder committed during the 1971 independence conflict.

The sentencing of Sayedee and other Jamaat-e-Islami leaders has triggered the worst violence in impoverished Muslim-majority Bangladesh since independence, with 85 people so far killed in the unrest.

Kazal Debnath, a vice-president of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, blamed the attacks on Hindu temples and homes on Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.

“It was the work of the Jamaat and Shibir, but we also accuse the government, the police and the local government representatives including (our) MPs for failing to protect the temples and our community,” he told AFP.

He said the attackers were given free rein to “torch our temples, houses and properties”.

Jamaat has denied any role in the attacks, blaming supporters of the ruling Awami League party for the violence.

But foreign minister Dipu Moni told diplomats last week that Jamaat and Shibir attacked Hindu temples and houses in a “pre-planned manner”.

Hindus, who make up nearly 10% of Bangladesh’s 153 million-strong population, are traditionally seen as supporters of the Awami League, which brands itself as a secular party.

They were the main targets during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan and during post-poll violence in 2001 when a centre-right party allied with Jamaat won a two-thirds majority.

Jamaat-e-Islami leaders have been on trial at the domestic International Crimes Tribunal, accused of colluding with Pakistan and pro-Pakistan militias during the war for independence.

But the party says the process is an attempt by the ruling party to settle scores and not about delivering justice.

Source: Hindustantimes

8 COMMENTS

  1. It is a kind of ethnic cleansing ..The ethnic religious minority communities are crying for justice more then 65 years,No one care about it, I would like to urge the leaders of the world please come forward to help the suffer people and to stop the ethnic cleansing from Bangladesh..

  2. Mr. Barua You are exaggerating a little bit. Yes; there are problems. Yes, they are done by Awami League because they want to pass the blame to Jamaat or BNP. Please talk to AL leaders. Also let me tell you; look at the Rohingiyas in Arakan. Buddhist monks are taking part in real ethnic cleansing. Please use this definition sparingly. We are with our minority brothers in Bangladesh. For sure. But do not make us look like monsters like the Buddhists doing in Arakan. They do not even give them citizenship even though they are living there for hundreds of years. We do not want our minorities the same treatment because it is inhuman. Please be patient and think like a Bangladeshi and not advertise to the entire world that Bangladeshis are monsters.

  3. It is possible Hindus in Bangladesh are going the Pakistan way to disappearance. The entire Hindu civilization has been wiped out of Pakistan – the Land of the Pure practically. Today, Hindus & Sikhs are down to less than 2% in Pakistan.

  4. Do not compare Pakistan with Bangladesh. I am extremely angry with your dumbest comment. You must be a BJP supporter from West Bengal. Look at Suranjit Sengupta. He threatened Sheikh Hasina from getting fired. He is a criminal and still is a minister without portfolio. He still talks like he owns Awami League. Probably he does. This person should be in jail. All Hindus want to go to India for economic reasons. So does many Muslims too. This remark is below the belt. I think people like you are traitors to Bangladesh. You love India more than your homeland.

    • Too bad if you are angry. You do not set standards in patriotism, and no one appointed you judge to issue gag orders on others. Either you have a free forum or you don’t. Hindus in Bangladesh are down from 35-40% to 10% and that is a fact. Their property appropriated by illegal means through ‘Enemy Property Act’, that is a fact. Hindus are being hunted down as we speak and their temples broken, and that too is a fact. Jamati Islami goons who you defend went door to door in 1971 looking for Hindus to kill. They got the Peer sahib of Sarsuna to issue a sermon whereby it was deemed Islamically legal to rape Hindu women. These are all documented facts. So, sit back, take a deep breath and do some soul searching, and do not go berserk over articles by fundamentalists looking for equivalence to these fanatical killers. The youth of Bangladesh have spoken in Shahbag, so deal with it. They do not want to go the way of Pakistan, where they have dozens of Laskars, Sipahis and Hizbuts to kill Hazara Shias, Hindus, Christians and what have you every Friday. Enough said.

      • Do we need patriots like Suranjit Sengupta? Hindus from Bangladesh have been badmouthing their own country in America and India. Their patriotism is slippery. That does not make me a Jammati either. You have not said anything about the Awamis burning the temples and grabbing the Hindu properties then setting up stories as if others are doing these. You love AL; don’t you? I am angry because you compared us with Pakistanis. How dare you?

  5. Dear Mr. Islam,
    While I fully understand the anger you feel from the comments made by Deepak and Barua it is also important that we the Muslims the majority in Bangladesh learn to deal with these issues more sensitively and indeed, rationally and respect the feelings of insecurity, sometime quite legitimately, that the minority communities experience in Bangladesh.

    What they need is not condemnation for their frank expressions even though some of these may appear incorrect, what we need is reasoned debate.

    First of all, we shall have to admit that minority community in Bangladesh have never been treated fairly and this is not unexpected in a society that is fundamentally unjust where powerful trash the powerless. As a collective we have never shown much respect to to rule of law nor have we encouraged any of our governments to actively work on the agenda of social justice.

    Having said this I would also like to stress that unlike those of Siv Sena’s in India and Taliban’s in Pakistan attacks on minorities in Bangladesh are rarely sectarian, these are mostly politically motivated.

    Unfortunately,in exchange for their loyalty Hindus in Bangladesh have allowed themselves to be consistently used by a certain political party. In spite of numerous crimes and human rights abuses committed by this particular party not a single Hindu either as a group or as an individual ever raised their voices against any these wrong-doings. This attitude of obeissance may have drawn the Hindus closer to this particular political party and given them some sort of a false sense of security in really such blind loyalty has costed them dearly and alienated them away from the mainstream Bangladeshis and has may have also provided ground for, though unjustifiably, reprisals from rival political groups.

    As far as the current attacks on Hindus are concerned there are rival claims. Both Jamat and BNP have denied allegations that they are conducting these attacks and claim that in order to tarnish their image and more importantly, to garner India’s support these attacks on Hindus are in fact being carried out by the government party activists.

    In a very politically divided and fractious environment that Bangladesh has gottent itself into it is very difficult to see who is doing what, but it is precisely because of these conflicting claims the minimumsm that the Hindus could do ask for an indepedentent enquiry and not just blindly accept everything that their chosen party says.

    In this regard, I also urge that those of us – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians etc.- who do not do politics but are affected by it demand that regardless of who they are our governments must establish rule of law in its stricted sense and not selectively and that irrespective of their cast, creed and colour rights and dignity of every citizen of the country is protected fully and equitably.

    Furthermore, in Bangladesh the minority community must also learn to live as Bangladeshis and not as Hindu or whatever and certainly not as an appendage of one political party or the other.

    On this, our minority community may take a leaf or two from the Indian Muslims. After being a fixed ally of the Congress party for a long time the Indian Muslims realized this was not doing no good to them – on the one hand they became branded as a protege of one group against the other and on the other, their patrons also started to take them for granted.

    These days Indian Muslims have delinked themselves from the apron string of the congress and have become more issue based and flexible politically and in the process have transformed themselves from being Indian Muslims to seeking patronage and protection from a narrow base to mainstream Indians participating fully in the wider canvas of Indian politics. Result of this transition is quite visible, Muslims in India have now spread themselves politically widely and hold prominent positions in most major political partie.

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