Back to 1971? Attacking, Looting & Burning Hindus in Bangladesh

Wonders Asaduzzaman Noor on attack by Jamaat-Shibir in Nilphamari

Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee

1971 backThe brutality and the trail of destruction left by Jamaat men in Nilphamari reminded Awami League lawmaker Asaduzzaman Noor of the viciousness the nation witnessed during the 1971 Liberation War.
“As I came under attack at Ramganj Bazar, it seemed as if I was reliving the days in 1971. The attack as well as the burnt and looted houses of the Hindus in my constituency reminded me of the savagery by the Pakistani occupation forces during the Liberation War,” said the Baker Bhai-famed TV actor.
Noor talked to The Daily Star yesterday over the phone. He was still struggling to overcome the trauma of the attack by Jamaat-Shibir men in his own constituency on Saturday afternoon.
The AL lawmaker and his entourage came under attack while returning to Nilphamari town after visiting Laxmichap and Palashbari unions, where Jamaat men had torched and looted the houses and shops belonging to Hindus on Thursday.
Noor escaped unhurt, but five people were killed in the attack.
People in the area had never seen such violence since the country’s independence, he said.
It was a planned attack, and the attackers were well-trained, he added.
“I am not only an Awami League leader, but also a cultural personality. I have always raised my voice against militancy, fundamentalism, and Jamaat-Shibir. I am their target, as I have been very vocal about the trial of war criminals,” said Noor.
Expressing gratitude to his party leaders and activists, Noor, also cultural affairs secretary of the AL, said four of his party activists had sacrificed their lives to save him.
“I am indebted to them and their families.”
If the party men had not formed a human shield around him, it wouldn’t be possible for him to escape the attack, said Noor.
“I went there [Laxmichap and Palashbari unions] to see the houses and shops of the Hindus damaged in Thursday’s attack. It is my obligation to stand by the people in my constituency, as I am their elected representative.”
He said the Jamaat-Shibir men made preparations for Thursday’s attack at Tupamari, a Jamaat stronghold, and then torched and looted the houses and shops belonging to Hindus in adjacent Laxmichap and Palashbari unions at night.
“They also attacked and hacked some Awami League activists. The next day, I asked police to visit those areas but they failed to go there, as the attackers had blocked the road by felling roadside trees.”
“When I visited the area on Saturday, I saw burnt houses. I learnt that women and children in these areas cannot stay in their houses at night. I had heard about such situation in 1971.”
When Noor and his entourage were returning to the district headquarters, they were attacked by Jamaat-Shibir men at Ramganj Bazar.
The attack on Noor’s motorcade triggered a three-way clash between Jamaat men, AL activists and law enforcers, leaving five people dead.
Four of the victims were ruling party men, and the other was a rickshaw-van puller, who had nothing to do with politics, he said.
“They [the attackers] also torched 41 motorbikes belonging to local Awami League leaders.”
The law enforcers tried their best to contain the attack, but they were outnumbered and overpowered by the attackers, he said.
“People in our area are peace-loving. But Jamaat with the help of some BNP leaders are causing troubles over the last six months,” he said.

Source: The Daily Star