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HRCBM Videos on destitute minorities of Bangladesh

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Human rights being violated: Mizanur

Source: The Daily Star

Vested Property Return Act


National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Dr Mizanur Rahman yesterday said the existing vested property return act, since its enactment, has been violating the human rights of minority communities in the country.

The act has created social discrimination and panicked the minorities that they would lose their lands, he said.

Both discrimination and panic are considered effective tool for violation of human rights; so the act should be reviewed to end those disputes permanently, added Rahman.

The NHRC chief was addressing a roundtable on “vested property return (amendment) act” at Cirdap auditorium in the city yesterday.

Noted economist Prof Abul Barakat said around 12-lakh Hindu households have been directly affected by the vested (enemy) property act form 1965 to 2006.

These families have lost their 26-lakh acres of land, he said, adding that the total loss caused by the act can be put at Tk 3,50,412 crore.

The roundtable was jointly organised by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh Hindu-Buddha-Christian Oikkya Parishad, Ain O Shalish Kendra, Nijera Kori, and Human Development Research Centre (HDRC).

Justice Mohammad Gholam Rabbani chaired the function and Rana Das Gupta, general secretary of the Oikkya Parishad, presented the keynote paper.

Sultana Kamal; JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu; Barrister Amirul Islam; Additional AG MK Rahman; and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong also spoke.

8 held for temple burglaries

Source: The Daily Star


The four youths, out of the eight, who were arrested by detectives yesterday in connection with the burglaries in Dhakeshwari Mandir and Sutrapur Kali Mandir in the city recently. Photo: STAR

The Detective Brach (DB) of police has arrested eight persons in the last five days in connection with thefts at the capital's Dhakeswari and Kali temples.

The detainees include alleged leader of the gang Garibullah alias Aslam, 24, Mohammad Monir, 25, Monir Hossain, 27, Mohammad Selim, 35, Shahid Jamal, 34, and Chandu, 30. The identities of the rest two could not be known immediately.

In the early hours of January 9, gold ornaments of around 200 tolas and Tk 4.5 lakh were stolen from Dhakeswari Temple, while over 100 tolas of gold ornaments were looted from Sutrapur Kali Temple on December 22 last year.

DB Inspector Ashraf Hossain, who conducted the drives, told The Daily Star that five of the arrestees Garibullah, Md Monir, Monir Hossain, Selim and Jamal were each placed on five days' remand yesterday.

According to the DB inspector the five placed on remand were directly involved in the thefts while the other three in dealing and selling the gold ornaments.

He said, “Garibullah admitted that led by him the gang stole from Dhakeswari and Kali temples and other temples in and around the capital. However, most of the looted ornaments were sold in the black market.”

On information that a gang of thieves who were sent to Narayanganj jail allegedly for looting a temple in Munshiganj continued robbing temples after obtaining bail, DB officials headed for Narayanganj and found two of the gang members Garibullah and Md Monir still in jail. The officials brought the two to the DB headquarters for interrogation, said a DMP press release.

Based on the information gleaned from the two, DB police recovered some gold ornaments and other stolen items from Munshiganj and Narayanganj and arrested Monir Hossain at Raipur of Laxmipur district, said the press release.

DB officials also recovered 11 broken locks of Dhakeswari Temple from the roof of a nearby workshop upon Garibullah's information.

Replying to a query, the DB inspector said, “The gang targeted temples as those are less secured and offer minimum risk.”

Nirnal Chatterjee, joint secretary of Mahanagar Sarbojanin Puja Committee, said they have heard about the arrest and the recovery.

He demanded fair investigation into the mysterious incidents of burglary at 23 temples across the country in the last two months.

Human rights denied for ethnic and religious minorities in Bangladesh

Source: Catholic News

Dacca (Agenzia Fides) – Living conditions for ethnic and religious minorities in Bangladesh are very difficult and their human rights are continually denied and trampled on, states the Hotline Human Rights Bangladesh” (HHRB) to Fides. The HHRB was established with the support of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bengalese Bishops, as a radar to monitor respect for human rights.

A recent assembly held in Dhaka, organised in collaboration with the “Resource Centre for Christian Youth in Bangladesh”, sounded the alarm that ethnic and religious minority groups - including Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities – suffer daily discrimination, abuse and violence from other Muslim citizens (a large majority in the country), and even from police officers and public administration.

According to the framework outlined by to Fides by the HHRB, minorities are often unduly defrauded of the land they have cultivated or houses they have lived in for centuries; women suffer rapes, kidnappings, forced conversions and marriages; the non-Muslim citizens are discriminated against in seeking work and education. “Their basic human rights are openly and continuously violated and no one intervenes,” notes the organisation.

The more than 100 participants at the meeting, from different districts, shared their common difficulties, also recalling abuses by police or government officers. For this they ask the Government that all Bangladeshi citizens, from any ethnic or religious group, enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities, that they stop the oppression and discrimination that “relegates non-Muslims to second-class citizens.”

In Bangladesh, of a population of about 165 million people, Muslims are more than 85%, 10% are Hindus, Buddhists 0.6%, and Christians 0.3%. Among the tribal minorities, the main ethnic groups are the Oroun and the Santal. The minorities, not given consideration or coverage in any way by the Constitution, have little chance of development and emancipation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/2/2011)

Bangladesh: Violent Muslim dispossession of minorities' land

Source: Spero News

A village in Bangladesh was burned down and dozens of indigenous people have been injured and driven from Ragipara in the mountain district of Rangamati. According to sources at the Catholic Diocese of Chittagong, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian ethnic minorities were beset by Muslim marauders over the last week.

According to the Commission for Justice and Peace operated by Bangladeshi Christians, more than 300 Muslim settlers on February 17 dispossessed the indigenous villagers and seized their crop land. The Muslim settlers were backed by local police who legitimized the violence. Other cases like this (of attacks on tribal members and private land) have been recorded in recent days in the area of Gulishakhali. The Muslims settlers subjected their indigenous neighbors to the dispossession under the pretext of revenge, following the still unresolved death of Ali Saber - a Muslim found death in Ragiparam.

Rampaging Muslims then entered the non-Muslim village. According to an eyewitness, "They set fire to our homes and our small shops.” An attorney for the dispossessed indigenous people, King Devasish Roy, wrote an open letter to the civil authorities and to the National Commission for Human Rights for Bangladesh, reporting the incident and noting “the complicity of the police.” The letter called for an investigation into the incident in Ragipara including the identification and punishment of the guilty, urging the Government to protect and safeguard the rights of citizens, members of ethnic or religious minorities.

Living conditions for ethnic and religious minorities in Bangladesh are very difficult and their human rights are continually denied and trampled on, states the Hotline Human Rights Bangladesh” (HHRB). The HHRB was established with the support of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic bishops of Bengal, as a monitor of human rights. A recent assembly held in Dhaka, organised in collaboration with the “Resource Centre for Christian Youth in Bangladesh”, sounded the alarm that ethnic and religious minority groups - including Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities – suffer daily discrimination, abuse and violence from other Muslim citizens (a large majority in the country), and even from police officers and public administration.

According to the framework outlined by HHRB, minorities are often unduly defrauded of the land they have cultivated or houses they have lived in for centuries; women suffer rapes, kidnappings, forced conversions and marriages; the non-Muslim citizens are discriminated against in seeking work and education. “Their basic human rights are openly and continuously violated and no one intervenes,” notes the organisation.

The more than 100 participants at the meeting, from different districts, shared their common difficulties, also recalling abuses by police or government officers. For this they ask the Government that all Bangladeshi citizens, from any ethnic or religious group, enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities, that they stop the oppression and discrimination that “relegates non-Muslims to second-class citizens.”

In Bangladesh, of a population of about 165 million people, Muslims are more than 85%, 10% are Hindus, Buddhists 0.6%, and Christians 0.3%. Among the tribal minorities, the main ethnic groups are the Oroun and the Santal. The minorities, not given consideration or coverage in any way by the Constitution, have little chance of development and emancipation.

Source: FIDES

Friday, February 18, 2011

Massive communal attack on Jumma villages by Bengali settlers with the support of security forces in Longadu

Source: PCJSS

23 houses burnt to ashes, 2 injured

On 17 February 2011 around 5.30 pm, following the death of a Bengali settler, the Bengali settlers numbering 200-250 from Gulshakhali settler area of Gulshakhali union under Longadu upazila in Rangamati district in collaboration with Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) (formerly BDR) made a massive communal attack on Jumma villages of Gulshakhali and Rangi Para areas. It is learnt that at least 23 houses of Jumma villagers including one BRAC school were reportedly burnt to ashes in the attack while two Jumma students were seriously injured in another attack made at Tintilya launchghat in Longadu at noon.

It is learnt that on 15 February 2011 in the morning two Bengali settlers named Md. Saber Ali (33) s/o Nehat Ali and Md. Sahid (35) s/o Julya Pagala from settler’s village- Rahamatpur of Gulshakhali union went to nearby jungle of Gulshakhali area to collect flower-broom (a kind of natural broom). Of them, Md. Sahid returned to home, however, Md. Saber Ali went missing. On 16 February 2011 around 10.00 am police and BGB recovered dead body of Saber Ali from Rangi Para area and brought it to police station of Longadu headquarter at 3:00 pm.

It is learnt that Saber Ali was suffering from epilepsy. So, locals including the administration guessed that Saber Ali might die due his illness. Witnesses also confirmed that no injury was found on dead body. However, in the evening time around 5.30 pm, Bengali settlers spread communal tension alleging Jumma villagers responsible for the death of Saber Ali and brought out processions separately at Gulshakhali bazar and Choumuhani bazar. Bengali settlers also brought out another procession at Longadu headquarter area at night about 12.00 pm.

On 17 February 2011 the Bengali settlers again began to spread communal agitation in the areas since morning. At a stage, at 11:00 am the Bengali settlers led by Khalilur Rahaman Khan, president of Bangalee Student Council and one Abdur Rahim (journalist) brought out a procession at Longadu headquarter. Police and local administration did nothing to stop spreading communal tension. No sooner ending of procession, at about 1.00 pm, two Jumma passengers (students) who came from Rangamati by a launch were attacked by Bengali settlers at Tintilyaghat of Longadu headquarter. They (Jumma students) were severely injured. They were identified as-

(1) Mr. Apolo Chakma (20) s/o Mono Ranjan Chakma of Sijakmukh area of Baghaichari upazila

(2) Mr. Mangal Moy Chakma (15) s/o Daya Mohan Chakma of Simana Para of Barkal upazila

Later, the injured students were admitted to Rangamati general hospital.

Afterwards, at about 5:00 pm the Bengali settlers again began to gather and at a stage with a group numbering 200-250 made attack on Jumma villages and set fire to the Jumma houses one after another. In the attack, at least 23 Jumma houses including one BRAC school were burnt to ashes. The BGB did nothing to stop the Bengali settlers from setting fire on Jumma houses.

Bengali settlers first set fire on the houses of Sukra Chakma and Amiya Kanti Chakma of Rangi Para. Then Jumma villagers gathered themselves and tried to defend the remaining houses and facing off the settlers. Jumma leaders also informed the local administration including police. However, no action was taken by the administration to stop Bengali settlers from attack.

On the other, a group of BGB of Rangipara Tematha camp led by Habildar Jahangir under Rajnagar BGB zone rushed there at that time and Bengali settlers increased their attack soon after arrival of BGB personnel.

Bengali settlers then proceeded to Gulshakhali village and set fire on Jumma houses indiscriminately. Jumma villagers alleged that BGB personnel supported the Bengali settlers while setting fire to the Jumma houses. Till 7.00 pm on 17 February Bengali settlers burnt down at least 23 houses of Jumma villagers in two villages (Please find the attachment for detailed list of houses burnt to ashes).

Besides, a BRAC school was burnt to ashes and 45 pieces of CIT sheets that was stored by UNICEP for building a school were looted.

The culprits and miscreants who led and made the Bengali settlers to attack and setting fire on Jumma villages were identified as follows:

(1) Wajed Ali, Chairman of Bagachatar union;

(2) Rahim, Chairman of Gulshakhali union;

(3) Amir Hossain Molla (55) s/o unknown of village- Boiragi bazar of Bagachatar union;

(4) Samsu Sardar (55) s/o unknown of Thegapara of Bagachatar union;

(5) Mannan Sardar (50) s/o unknown of Rangipara of Bagachatar union;

(6) Salauddin (30) s/o unknown of Rangipara of Bagachatar union.

It is mentionable that the Bengali settlers who were brought from plain lands and settled down at Gulshakhali, Bogachadar and Kalapagujya areas under Longadu upazila in 1980s have been trying to grab the lands of Jumma people. As a part of this attempt, on 21 December 2010 the Bengali settlers made attack on Jumma village of Shanti Nagar and inhumanly beat 14 Jumma villagers and ransacked 5 houses motivatedly alleging Jumma villagers to beat a Bengali settler who went to jungle to collect firewood.

It is suspected that Saber Ali might be killed by Bengali settlers to create lame excuse for making attack on Jumma peoples. Bengali settlers fabricatedly spread that there were several injuries on dead body. However, a doctor, who made dead body post-mortem and wished not to be named, said that no injury was found.