Hindus in Bangladesh continue to suffer the legacy of 1971. The latest in a long line of atrocities happened with Islamists attacking Hindus in the immediate wake of one of the country’s most violent general elections. BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami men burned and looted Hindu homes in Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra, Lalmonirhat, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Jessore districts.
The massive violence reminds one of the rampant anti-massacre of Hindus during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. The Daily Star quotes a victim by the name of Bishwajit Sarkar, whose shop was burtnt by Islamists, as saying, “We left our house in 1971 as the Pakistan army and razakars set fire to our village. And we are passing through the same ordeal in 2014.”
According to Dhaka Tribune, Rapid Action Battalion personnel recovered 29 petrol bombs in Kumargara village of Chatmohor upazila early on Tuesday. The elite force members also recovered 12 crude bombs and four rounds of bullets.
Villagers had been threatened by Jamaat-Shibir activists against voting but they went anyway and brought down the Islamists’ wrath upon themselves. According to reports, the attackers numbered between four to five hundred and engaged in bombing, vandalism and arson.
In November 2012, similar incidents came to pass in Pabna where, on the basis of the printout of an alleged Facebook posting, one Babul Saha’s house was attacked and vandalised. Babul Saha was even physically assaulted and events escalated quickly ending with rioting and mob violence.
There is dissatisfaction among villagers regarding the Government’s inaction against those guilty of these crimes. A report in the Dhaka Tribune even quotes a local administrator by the name of Ranjit Kumar Roy as saying, “The attack was carried out under the influence of the police administration.” The attackers in Jessore did wear masks to hide their faces.
Accusation of blasphemy has been Islamists’ go-to trick for a long time now, and not just in Bangladesh. In any locality with Jihadi and Islamist influence, it is only a matter of time and opportunity before an insult to the Quran or Prophet Mohammad is thrown into the picture and results in rioting and arson on a significant scale. What is saddening is that the plight of Bangladeshi Hindus is never even a blip on the radars of India’s self-appointed defenders of minority rights and secularism.