Hindu residents of a Madaripur village have taken matters into their own hands with communal attacks rising across Bangladesh since the recent general election.
They are staying up at night for the past 15 days to guard their village.
Abani Bhusan Mandal, a teacher from the Nayakandi village, said four teams, comprising 10 persons each, had been formed for patrolling.
“Two teams patrol the village at night,” he said.
Hindus, in particular, came under attack after the Jan 5 polls. They are being subjected to murder, rape, and torture while their houses are vandalised and torched.
Madaripur’s Rajoir Upazila has 336 temples. Apart from several hundred thousand Hindus, a sizeable Christian population also lives there.
Like other areas dominated by religious minorities, this area, too, came under attack.
On Dec 13, the idol at Bazitpur’s Sri Pranab Moth was desecrated.
This was followed by another attack at Nayakandi village’s Satyan Bepari’s house on Dec 22. A two-year-old was killed in the violence.
A few days later, the house of one Khokon Chowdhury at Bazitpur’s Sutarkandi village was robbed.
The attacks created panic among the residents.
Later, on Dec 28, Bazitpur’s residents met at a local temple to find ways to protect themselves.
“We decided that the best way to do that at Nayakandi was to guard the area ourselves,” said Nityananda Halder, a lecturer at Rajoir Degree College.
Superintendent of Madaripur Police Khondokar Faridul Islam welcomed the initiative.
“We have spoken to the Hindu leaders who are guarding the village. We have said we’d provide them with sticks, whistles, and torch lights.
“We hope the miscreants won’t be able to attack the Hindus at Rajoir Upazila,” he said.