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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bangladesh: Seminar held on "Land Rights of the Indigenous People of the Plain Land"

Source: The Dailystar
url: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=107644
The government, if it deems necessary, will form a separate land commission to resolve the land-related problems of the indigenous people of plain lands, said Land Minister Rezaul Karim Hira yesterday.
Talking to journalists after attending a seminar on 'Land Rights of the Indigenous People of the Plain Land', he said the government is committed to resolving all the problems of the indigenous people but it would take time.
Commenting on the objections from different organisations about the land survey in the Chittagong Hill Tracts scheduled to start on October 15, the minister said they opposed it as it went against their interest.
The seminar organised by Karitas Mymensingh region was held at the Biam auditorium in the city.
Speakers at the seminar also demanded the government form a separate land commission to this end.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs Promod Mankin, who is also a member of the indigenous community in plain land, said land related problems cause the indigenous people suffer most.
"Proper investigations should be carried out to resolve the land related problems in the area and for that the government can form a separate land commission like the land commission in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area," he said.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, director (programme) of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), said the government should formulate Forest Right Act like India, which would ultimately help the indigenous people in establishing their land rights.
Shamsul Huda, executive director of ALRD, said the government should form separate laws for the indigenous people to establish their rights.
At the seminar, representatives of different indigenous communities of the plain land shared the problems they had been experiencing in their respective areas.
The seminar presided over by Dr Benedict Alo D Rojario, executive director of Karitas, was also addressed by Theofil Hajang, operations director of World Vision, Bangladesh National Office, and Prof Mesbah Kamal of Dhaka University.

Bangladesh: Christian murdered for a cellphone

Source: Sepro News
url: http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=20480&t=Bangladesh%3A+Christian+murdered+for+a+cellphone

Swopon Mondol, a Baptist, died in hospital from serious injuries sustained during the beating -- police blame university students.

ByAsia News

Beaten by a group of young students from the University of Dhaka for an - alleged - theft of a mobile phone, he died after a few hours from serious injuries sustained during the beating. The victim is Swopon Mondol, a Christian from the Free Christian Baptist Churches of Bangladesh. His body was found the evening of 12 September on the university campus. Rushed to hospital, he died shortly after midnight on September 13, his wife, who rushed to his side, has been threatened by the attackers not to report the crime.
Police have opened an investigation into the matter and seem to have identified the culprits. Mohammed Wahid, a police officer from Sahabag station cites internal sources according to whom "a group of students from Mohasin Hall in Dhaka University, led by Mohammed Rajan" brutally tortured and killed the young Christian, husband and father of a child of 10.
"On 12 September - said Mohammed Wahid - around 8 o'clock in the evening I received a call from a source, who noted the presence of a man seriously injured near the park of Suhrawardi. When I saw the condition of man, I ordered his transfer to the Medical College in Dhaka, where his wife also arrived".
The officer (pictured) adds he knew the young man involved and does not believe the "thesis of the stolen phone". He confirms recent cases of "aggression from the University of Dhaka," perpetrated by "groups of violent students" who use "excuses" such as the theft of a phone "to harass innocent people." "He was a good and kind person - highlights Wahid - and he was killed in a brutal manner”.
"In the hospital - adds Lucky Modolo, wife of the victim Diptoo, and mother of a boy of 10 - some young people surrounded me, asking me for money as compensation for the theft of mobile phones. My husband was struggling between life and death, I felt hopeless. "
The woman admits to "being afraid" to ask for an investigation, "the fear of retaliation: they could also kill me”. Her thoughts now go to her young son and "how we are going to survive" because "my husband was the only one who earned money." Swopon Mondol was buried on 13 September; his sister Sulekha is "seeking justice" for the murder.
The Free Christian Churches of Bangladesh has 320 churches and more than 30 thousand faithful, and has been present in the country for more than 25 years. The movement has faced attacks during the second Gulf War and several times members have suffered persecution. "Swopon Mondol was a very active member of the church - emphasizes Baptist bishop Alberti P Mirdha - his death has shocked us. Minorities are not safe in Bangladesh. "

Reported by William Gomes.

Motive Sought for Slaying of Church Worker in Bangladesh

Source: Christian News Today
url:
http://www.christiannewstoday.com/Christian_News_Report_357.html

Police, wife doubt student attackers’ story of cell phone theft.

By Aenon Shalom

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Authorities are investigating possible motives for the vicious killing of a church worker by students at Dhaka University.
A management student at the university and his friends are accused of torturing and killing Swapan Mondol, 35, on Sept. 12 in Suhrawardy Park, adjacent to the university. Mondol, a convert from Hinduism, was supervisor of youth mission for Free Christian Church of Bangladesh (FCCB).
The primary suspect’s friends claim they came to his aid after Mondol stole his cell phone, a scenario that Mondol’s wife and police said they doubt. His wife, Lucky Mondol, told Compass that she does not know why they killed her husband.
“He was an evangelist and earned good amount of money from his job, so he could not snatch a mobile phone in the park,” she said.
She said that when she rushed to Dhaka Medical Hospital after learning of the attack, she found her husband’s body lying stiff on the floor with two holes in his head. His body was smeared with congealed blood. He had been wearing a gold ring and a neck chain of gold, but those items and his cell phone were missing, she said.
Police suspect Mohammed Rajon and his student friends of the killing and have confirmed reports of other cases of violence by student groups who cite cell phone theft as a pretext for attacking innocent people.
Local police inspector Rezaul Karim told Compass the killing was cloaked in mystery.
“Some students of Dhaka University killed Mondol on a charge of snatching a mobile phone,” Karim said. “The students said they caught him red-handed, so why didn’t they just hand him over to us? If he had snatched anything from them, we would have recovered it from him.”
Police will file a murder case, Karim said.
“What a killing frenzy it was,” he said. “Nobody has the right to kill anyone, whoever he is.”
Karim denied Bangladeshi newspaper reports claiming that he said Mondol and three accomplices tried to steal a cell phone from Rajon.
Calumnies
Almost all Bangladeshi media portrayed Mondol, who studied theology at the Christian Development Center in Dhaka and completed graduate work in theology in Bangalore, India, as a thief who worked among park prostitutes.
“I am so shocked by the media, which published vicious calumnies about him,” she said. “The media reports added fuel to the flames and indirectly supported the lynch mob.”
Some newspapers quoted her even though she never spoke to their reporters, she said.
“One top Bengali newspaper reported that my husband used to go everyday in the park, and that I told it to them,” she said. “It is a thumping lie. Around 15 to 20 days a month my husband used to officially visit various districts in the country for church work. How an innocent man died with scandal!”
FCCB Chairman Albert P. Mridha told Compass that Mondol, father of a 10-year-old child, was a loyal and sober church worker who worked for 14 years in nationwide ministry.
“We do not have any program from our church to work among the floating [park] sex workers,” Mridha said.
A week before his death, Mondol returned from a three-week trip to southern Bangladesh to oversee church activities, Mridha said. He had planned to preach at a revival meeting in northern Bangladesh.
“Most of the days of the month he used to spend on tour for church work,” Mridha said. “Sometimes he used to go to the Dhaka University area to see the cultural programs.”
Bangladeshi media also mistakenly identified Mondol as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) worker, to which Mridha also objected, saying a church employee is not an NGO worker.
“He was an honest and sincere worker in his duty,” said Mridha. “If 14 years of past experience is anything to go by, undoubtedly I can say that he was not engaged in theft. There was different kind of motive to kill him which we do not know. But killing him on suspicion of snatching was a pretext.”

==Provided by Compass Direct News==

Christian convert from Islam and family threatened with death: AsiaNews

Source: AsiaNews.It
url: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=16456&geo=2&size=A


After Friday prayers a group of zealots attacked the house of William Gomes, a young Muslim who converted to Christianity and human rights activist. The police takes no steps to ensure his protection.


Dhaka (AsiaNews) - William Gomes, a Catholic convert from Islam, is in mortal danger. For the past several days he has been the target of Muslim extremists who want to kill him because of his new faith. On 25 September he had to flee his home to escape from a group of Islamic militants who wanted to kill him and his family (wife and child), setting fire to their house. After Friday prayers at a mosque nearby, a group of fanatics had asked the leaders of their mosque to decide on the fate of the young man and the penalty to be inflicted on him.



A freelance journalist and human rights activist, married to a Catholic and father of a child, Gomes had recently received threats, but on September 25, his accusers passed from words to deeds. Led by Nazmi Mohammed Uddin Titu, a local leader of the Chatra League movement of young Muslims, a group marched on the house of the young man accused of apostasy.

The human rights activist sought police protection, but officers of the Police Commission in Jatrabri limited themselves to filing his complaint. Gomes said that the officer on duty guaranteed police intervention only after the fact happened saying he was not surprised at the anger of Muslims over his conversion.

Already September 23 there had been warning signs. Mohammed Mijan Bandari, the local leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), had assaulted Gomes’ cousin, Mohammed Farouk, who with his wife went to visit his relative and family. The human rights activist intervened in defence of his cousin, with the help of his mother and father, only to receive death threats from Bandari and the Islamist group of a hundred people. The crowd only dispersed after the arrival of the police to calm tensions.

The human rights activist, whose reports have been published by AsiaNews, has received the solidarity of Buni Yani, his Muslim friend and professor of the faculty of science and politics at the Muhammadiyah University in Jakarta. Yani has appealed to the authorities of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of Gomes and his family.

Video Report: The hindhu minority in Bangladesh describing the forceful abduction story

Violence against women in Bangladesh continues unabated: Video Report

Warning: content of this video may not be suitable for some viewers, appropriate viewer discretion advised.