It has been 43 years since Bangladesh won its freedom from Pakistan in 1971. Despite getting freedom, Hindus living in Bangladesh remain vulnerable to attacks by anti-liberation forces. The year 2013 saw rise in the incidents of violence against them which forced several Hindu families to fled their homes following post-poll violence in different districts on January 5. Now, they are so scared to return as the Government failed to provide security.
As soon as voting ended on January 5 afternoon, the supporters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-Shibir vandalised, looted and burned Hindu houses in Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra, Lalmonirhat, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Jessore. However, this is not the first time that Hindus in Bangladesh are facing atrocities at the hands of radicals. They have been living under constant threat since 1971.
But the incidents of violence have increased since the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh indicted Delawar Hossain Sayeedi on at least 20 counts of crimes against humanity on October 4, 2011. He is a Bangladeshi Islamist politician and the vice-president of Jamaat-e-Islami. Sayeedi is known for his hatred of non-Muslims and has been accused of murder, loot, arson, rape and forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam during the Bangladesh Liberation War. In fact, on February 28, 2013, Sayeedi was convicted of 16 charges, including loot, arson, murder and genocide. He was sentenced to death for two of the charges.
Bangladeshi Hindus repeatedly face the ire of Muslim fanatics – Video dated – March 5, 2013
The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh had also convicted Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, an Islamic televangelist and leader of Jamaat-e-Islami and sentenced him to death. After that the Tribunal had sentenced Kader Mollah to life imprisonment. On February 28, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delawar Hossain Sayeedi to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, their houses were burnt and temples were desecrated and set on fire.
While the Bangladeshi Government held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities, its leadership denied any involvement. The minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement to start suo motu investigation into the attacks. According to various news reports, more than 50 Hindu temples and over 1,500 Hindu homes were destroyed in 20 districts.
Here is a detailed district-wise list of incidents of terrorism that hit Bangladesh in 2013:
The jihadi groups responsible for these attacks are largely funded by the notorious Hefazate Islam, Jamaati Islami and BNP. BNP and Jamaati Islami has been funding these extremist groups. This was portrayed in an article by a Pakistani journalist in the International Herald Tribune. In Noakhali district several Hindu homes and temples came under the attack of the Islamists.
On the morning of February 28, 2013, the activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir began to gather near Rajganj Bazar in Begumganj Upazila. The procession vandalised the Kali temple at Rajganj Bazar and the temple near Bainnabari. Then they attacked the Hindus in nearby Tongipar and Aladinagar villages. They vandalised at least eight Hindu houses and looted valuables, including money and jewellery.
The temple of Bhuiyan in Tongipar village was vandalised in which at least six people were injured. The violence continued in phases till the evening. Around 6:30 pm, Rapid Action Battalion was deployed to control the situation. On March 23, 2013, Islamic extremists vandalised and looted a temple at Companiganj Upazila. On March 26, 2013, radicals set fire in a Hindu house at Zirtali union belonging to Begamganj Upazila.
On March 28, 2013, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh activists set fire in a temple at Bagahichari Upazilla in Rangamati district.
On the night of February 28, 2013, the radicals vandalised another temple in Pingjour village under Chingrikhali Union in Morrelganj Upazila of Bagerhat district. The Dumuria Sharbajaneen temple under Ramachandrapur Union too was set on fire. Two houses of Hindus, one belonging to a local Awami League leader, were set on fire in Banogram Union.
On April 3, 2013, radicals torched a Hindu temple after vandalising three idols. In Satkhira, Jamaat and Shibir activists attacked Hindu houses and business establishments. In Kadamtala, City College More and Abader Hat areas of Satkhira municipality more than hundred Hindu residences and business establishments were looted and destroyed.
On March 5, 2013, Jamaat-Shibir and BNP activists set burnt eight Hindu houses in Khulna. On March 12, 2013 around midnight, miscreants vandalised 23 idols of Shiv temple at the Angita cremation ground in Kaliganj Upazila of Jhenaidah district.
On March 18, 2013, more than 150 armed assailants attacked and valdalised the Pabla Sarbajanin Kalibari Temple in Khulna city’s Banikpara around 9:30pm. They ransacked the houses and shops of Hindus in the area.
On February 28, 2013, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked a Hindu temple and destroyed Hindu-owned business establishments in Gaibandha district. However, in the evening, they vandalised some houses in the Shobhaganj Union. The Hindu community leaders complained that the attackers had vandalised the central Kali temple at Mithapukur Upazila in Rangpur District.
Shortly after the midnight of March 2, 2013, some 40 people abused and threatened Hindus attacking their houses at Uttar Maheshpur village in Raniganj area of Dinajpur Sadar Upazila of Dinajpur district. They set fire to the homes and haystacks of 12 Hindu peasant families, as they barely managed to escape alive. At around 1 am two fire brigade units from Dinajpur arrived and doused the fire but the houses were completely reduced to ashes.
Jamat-Shibir activists also blocked the Joypurhat-Bogra highway for over three hours. Meanwhile on March 5, 2013, the Sree Sree Shoshan Kali Mandir at Rotherpar village in Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat district was vandalised. On March 7, fanatics set fire to an Hindu temple after destroying goddess Kali idol at Hatibandha upazila of Lalmonirhat. Sree Sree Kali Mandir at Bejgram village was also burnt down at night.
On March 8, 2013, a Radha Gobinda temple is burnt down in Rangpur city.
In Barisal District, a Hindu temple was set on fire in Nalchira Union of Gaurnadi Upazila. On March 5, 2013, the radicals tried to set fire to the Guthia Sarbajaneen Kali Mandir under Guthia union in Wazirpur Upazila. The images of Kali and Mahadev were destroyed. However, in the evening, a Radha Krishna temple was set on fire in Batajor Village under Bamna Upazila in Barguna District.
In the wee hours of March 12, 2013, two Hindu houses on New Vatikhana Road in Barisal were set ablaze by unknown criminals. On April 4, 2013, Islamic fanatics torched down a Hindu temple at Kathalia Upazila under Jhalokati District.
On March 7, 2013, an idol of the Hindu goddess Kali was destroyed and a Hindu temple was set on fire at Hatibandha Upazila of Lalmonirhat. On the night of March 12, 2013, radicals vandalised a Hari temple in Pakuria village and destroyed the idol.
On March 19, 2013, Islamists desecrated idols in four Hindu temples of Gabtali Upazila in Bogra District.
On March 3, 2013, in Lohajang Upazila of Munshiganj District a Kali Temple was set on fire by fanatics. On the same day, another Hindu temple was burnt down in which six people, including a Jamaat leader were arrested on charges of torching this temple. However, on March 6, 2013, Ananda Ashram Mandir of Fulbaria village under the Ballabhdi Union in Faridpur District was set on fire.
On March 8, 2013, Islamist extremists vandalised a Kali Temple at Sashangaon village under Sirajdikhan Upazila in Munshiganj District.
On March 11, 2013, a temple at Fulbaria Upazila in Mymensingh District was vandalised.
On the night of March 15, 2013, some unidentified men vandalised the image of Saraswati in a 77 year old Hindu temple in Madhabpur area of Sherpur municipality in Sherpur District.
On March 18, 2013, at least seven idols in Harimandir in Netrokona Sadar upazila’s Bobahala have been desecrated by smashing them to pieces. On the same day in Gazipur District, the attackers damaged six idols in a Hindu temple at Dakhkhin Marta of Sreepur.
On March 22, 2013, unidentified men set fire to a Lakshmi temple at Gazipur Sadar Upazila in Gazipur District.
On April 2, 2013, religious fanatics set the largest Hindu temple at Bhuiyanpur upazila in Tangail District. On April 5, 2013, A Kali Mandir, Panchmandir and Shiv Mandir in Mirzapur of Tangail District ere vandalised. On the same day, one temple was vandalised at Rajoir under Madaripur District during the clash of two political parties.
On April 8, religious fanatics vandalized a Hindu temple in Jamalpur District. On the same day, fanatics also vandalised a temple at Fulbaria under Mymensingh District.
On April 19, 2013, a few unidentified miscreants torched a Hindu temple at Mahendri village in Rajoir upazila of Madaripur District.
On March 12, 2013, radicals set fire around a temple at Juri Upazila in Maulvi Bazar District. But not much damaged was done to the temple because the fire was brought under control.