Different organisations yesterday demanded the government take legal action against those who attacked the indigenous Christians over a dispute of land belonging to a Christian church at Mithapukur in Rangpur on March 20.
At a rally at the Central Shaheed Minar in the city, they also demanded that the attackers withdraw the criminal case filed against the Christians, and also that the government ensure security of the religious minority group there.
Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) Mithapukur upazila unit in association with Dhaka University Christian Students' Association organised the rally, says a BCA press release.
Christian leader of Baldipukur Lalit Kuzur chaired the rally while BCA leaders Nirmal Rozario, Hubert Gomes, Deepak Perez, James Subrata Hazra, Prolloy Samaddar, Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist Oikya Parishad leader Nirmal Chatterjee and Tribal Welfare Association Assistant Vice-President Nipun Sangma spoke.
Leaders of Santal Students' Union, Orao Students' Association, Garo Students' Association, Bangladesh Adivasi Students' Action Council, Bangladesh Minority Students' Council, Adivasi Sangram Parishad and Hill Students' Council expressed their solidarity.
The protest rally took place against the backdrop of a clash where around 20 people - 12 Santals and the rest Bangalees - were injured. The clash occurred, as the authorities of St Mary's Christian Missionary started constructing a boundary wall on a 53-decimal of land adjacent to Adivasi Primary School and Shah Abul Kashem High School in Baldipukur.
At this, a number of Bangalees attacked Santals with lethal weapons and the latter made a counter-attack with bows and arrows, Mithapukur police earlier said.
Leo Deshai, priest at St Mary's Church, alleged that president of the managing committee of the high school Habibur Rahman led the attack, though Mithapukur upazila on March 18 handed it over to them as per a court order.
But Habibur said the school authorities wanted the land to remain open as a playground of the school, he added.
The priest claimed that when construction of the boundary wall on the land started, local people opposed it and that enraged Santals, who attacked the locals with bows and arrows.
Later, Mithapukur Upazila Parishad asked both the sides to maintain status quo concerning the land.
Habibur Rahman, however, filed a criminal case against the Santals.