Police cite 160 attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh


Around 160 incidents of attacks and atrocities on Hindus took place in 21 districts after the January 5 parliamentary polls, according to police reports submitted to the High Court.

The police also said property worth around Tk 40 lakh was damaged in 70 of those attacks and local BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami activists were responsible for most of the occurrences.

The atrocities include injuring Hindu people, damaging their houses, temples and business establishments and setting them on fire, and looting valuables.
Officials of different police ranges have recently submitted the reports to the HC through the Office of the Attorney General in line with a suo moto rule issued by the court on January 15.

The reports say 36 criminal cases, including three general diaries, have so far been filed with different police stations in the 21 districts in connection with the incidents.

Hindus in Dinajpur, Mymensingh, Netrakona, Sherpur, Tangail, Comilla, Chandpur, Bagerhat, Jessore, Narail, Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, Joypurhat, Barisal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Rangpur, Gaibandha Nilphamari and Thakurgaon districts came under the attacks.
As many as 139 people have so far been arrested, the reports say, adding that necessary security measures have been taken to protect the Hindus and apparently vulnerable people in the districts.

Deputy Attorney General Biswajit Roy told The Daily Star most of the cases were filed under such sections of law that did not allow the trial courts to give exemplary punishment.
The police reports were placed before the HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain on February 9 for a decision, he said, adding that the bench the same day fixed February 26 for passing an order on the matter.
Court sources say the bench, after seeing the reports, raised the question of why the offences mentioned there would not be counted as subversive acts against the state.
Following that question, the attorney general’s office instructed the police headquarters to take steps so that allegations of subversive acts against the state would also be included in the cases, according to insiders.

The HC bench in its own motion on January 15 also directed the government to immediately provide adequate security to the Hindus and other communities vulnerable to the post-polls violence.

It also ordered the inspector general of police to submit reports on what measures had been taken for their protection and what action had been taken against the persons directly or indirectly responsible.

Earlier in January, the government submitted a probe report to the HC bench, saying that miscreants vandalised 29 houses, 10 business establishments and seven temples at Bonogram Bazar at Sathia upazila in Pabna on November 2 last year on allegations that a Hindu youth from the locality had maligned Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) on a Facebook page.

The probe body assessed that property worth around Tk 43.42 lakh belonging to 33 Hindu families was damaged.
In response to the probe report, the HC bench on February 9 directed the government to compensate the 33 families in three months.
The probe body was formed following another suo moto rule issued by the bench on November 3 last year based on a report published in The Daily Star under the headline, “Hindus attacked in Pabna”.

Source: The Daily Star