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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Minority lands ‘grabbed’ by Awami League activists

Source: Gulf Times

A coalition of religious minorities has expressed its grave concern over extensive grabbing of lands belonging to Hindus across Bangladesh as ruling Awami League leaders and activists are virtually on rampage in this regard.

The Hindu-Buddhist Christian Unity Council recorded 150 incidents of repression on Hindus in different parts of the country in six months, the organisation’s general secretary Rana Das Gupta told newsmen here yesterday. He said least three people were killed because of repression while many houses were burnt and families were driven out from their homesteads.

The assailants carried out attacks, looted valuables and tried to drive away families to take control of the land of minority communities. The Hindu minorities account for about 15% of Bangladesh’s total population. Incidents of arson and extortion were reported from some places.

Most of the land grab incidents took place in Natore, Pirojpur, Chittagong, Narsingdi, Bagerhat, Bariasl, Manikganj, Tangail, Satkhira, Pabna, Manikganj and Munshiganj districts, according to the organisation report.

Many of the families are under constant threats by influential ruling party people, according to complaints lodged with police stations. “Politically powerful quarters are involved in most of the case of repression and there has been hardly any remedy,” Rana said, adding that the administration did not care much about the cases if ruling quarters were involved in the incidents.

The police carry out investigation only of the cases having no direct involvement of political quarters, he said.

“We have been witnessing repression on minority communities for a long time. During the previous regime, it was a minority cleansing and now we see ruling party activists in a land grabbing spree,” the organisation secretary said.

Organisation president Major General (retired) CR Dutta, also a veteran freedom fighter, said it was a fact that the Hindu minorities were repressed during the tenure of the present government.

“We have informed the government of the atrocities. All should understand that the people do not take such persecution easily. The people responsible for such persecution will not be spared,” he said, reminding the government of its electoral pledge to ensure safety and security of the Hindu minority communities.

Activists of the ruling Awami League and its front organisations were mostly involved in such grabbing of or attempt to grab the land of the minorities.

Some of the complaints were sent to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking government’s intervention against such incidents.

C R Dutta is unhappy with the ruling Awami League’s treatment of the minority communities although it was their hard work that helped the party gain overwhelming majority in Parliament.

“I would like to say 90% of us are supporters of the Awami League as it believes in four guiding principles of the state — secularism, democracy, socialism and nationalism. Now, I think the time has come for the Awami League to realise the situation and take our issues into consideration,” Dutta said.

He lamented the continued suffering of the minority people, even during the tenure in the Awami League-led government, and demanded ‘some action’ against the oppressive acts.

“Lands of our people are being gabbed. Even the lands of the national temple Dhaleshwari Mandir has been occupied by giant corporate houses and multi-storey buildings are being erected there,” he said.

“We have told Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about it, we told (the deputy leader of the parliament) Sajeda Chowdhury and they said they would look into the matter. They are not saying anything negative, but they have to show us some action.”

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