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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hindus attacked in Bangladesh; temples and houses torched

Source: JAGRAN Post


Hindu temples, homes attacked in Bangladesh
Hindu temples, homes attacked in Bangladesh
Dhaka: Islamic activists have attacked dozens of Hindu temples and hundreds of homes across Bangladesh since an Islamist leader was sentenced to death for war crimes last month, a Hindu group said on Thursday.

Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, an organization which looks after Hindu temples, said 47 temples and at least 700 Hindu houses had either been torched or vandalised since the verdict against Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

Sayedee, vice-president of the country's largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to hang on February 28 for crimes including rape and murder committed during the 1971 independence conflict.

The sentencing of Sayedee and other Jamaat-e-Islami leaders has triggered the worst violence in impoverished Muslim-majority Bangladesh since independence, with 85 people so far killed in the unrest.

Jamaat-e-Islami blamed


Kazal Debnath, a vice-president of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, blamed the attacks on Hindu temples and homes on Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.

"It was the work of the Jamaat and Shibir, but we also accuse the government, the police and the local government representatives including (our) MPs for failing to protect the temples and our community," he said.

He said the attackers were given free rein to "torch our temples, houses and properties".

Jamaat has denied any role in the attacks, blaming supporters of the ruling Awami League party for the violence.

Govt urged to protect Hindus
But Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told diplomats last week that Jamaat and Shibir attacked Hindu temples and houses in a "pre-planned manner".

Amnesty International has appealed to the government to better protect Hindus.

"The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion," said Abbas Faiz, an Amnesty researcher.

Red Cross provides aid

The Red Cross said it had started providing aid to 113 families affected by the violence.

Hindus, who make up nearly 10 percent of Bangladesh's 153 million-strong population, are traditionally seen as supporters of the Awami League, which brands itself as a secular party.

They were the main targets during Bangladesh's 1971 independence war against Pakistan and during post-poll violence in 2001 when a centre-right party allied with Jamaat won a two-thirds majority.

Jamaat-e-Islami leaders have been on trial at the domestic International Crimes Tribunal, accused of colluding with Pakistan and pro-Pakistan militias during the war for independence.

But the party says the process is an attempt by the ruling party to settle scores and not about delivering justice.

Bangladesh on the brink

Source: CNN World


Bangladesh on the brink
March 13th, 2013



By Toby M. Cadman, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Toby M. Cadman is a London based international barrister specializing in war crimes, international terrorism, extradition and human rights. He served as legal counsel to the chief prosecutor of the Bosnian war crimes chamber. The views expressed are his own.
Days of bloody riots in Dhaka are spreading throughout the country; scores are dead thousands injured. Bangladesh has a long history of civil unrest but the current situation is approaching historic proportions. In the past, unrest has led to military coup. Six months ago, another coup was unthinkable; now it is apossibility increasingly being discussed.
Yet while some have compared the protests to the Arab spring, nothing could be further from the truth. In Cairo, people ousted a dictator and demanded democratic reform. In Dhaka, the demonstrations are comprised of two camps: the larger is made up of those seeking immediate execution of people convicted of war crimes related to the 1971 war of independence; the other is made up of those who believe the war crimes tribunals are show trials allowing the government to eliminate the leaders of a critical political party that threatens to shift the balance of power in upcoming elections.
I am a member of the defense team, but was expelled from the country for complaining about the lack of due process. I am not a politician. I support no political party in Bangladesh. But I do support the rule of international law and believe that the ongoing defilement of that rule not only threatens the lives of presumed innocent defendants, it also is placing the country on the brink of chaos.
The 1971 war pitted the two Pakistans against each other. The East and West Pakistan concept created in 1947 by the British during their departure from the subcontinent resulted in an unworkable bifurcated “nation” separated by more than 1,000 miles, with two distinct languages and cultures. The concept was to split the subcontinent by religion: India is primarily Hindu, the Pakistans Muslim. But the Pakistans shared little beyond Islam revolution was inevitable.  The war was bloody, with as many as 3 million people killed in East Pakistan, according to the Bangladeshi side, thousands raped and unknown numbers tortured. As part of the India-brokered treaty, Bangladesh became an independent state and the Pakistan military received effective amnesty. Bangladeshi collaborators received no amnesty.
The Awami League-led government created the War Crimes Tribunal in 2010, basing it loosely on tribunals like Nuremberg. The government rejected suggestions from the international community of the necessity for transparency, strict adherence to legal precedent and involvement of unbiased outsiders. The government wrote its own rules. Charges were brought against 11 suspects out of an estimated total of 1,600. Each defendant held leadership roles in the opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami. In the history of Bangladesh, elected governments have rotated between Awami and BNP led coalitions. Historically, each time BNP held power, its majority relied on a Jamaat coalition seat. Without Jamaat’s votes, BNP is unlikely to regain power.
Early procedural actions by the War Crimes Tribunal raised concerns among bodies including the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Foreign lawyers, including myself, were prohibited from participating on the defense team, prosecutors were given great latitude and defense lawyers limited in the ability to cross-examine and present evidence.
Last year, a series of tapes and emails surfaced that seemed to suggest collusion between the chief judge of the tribunal, the prosecutors, outside pro-government consultants and indications of direct instructions from the cabinet for quick convictions and death sentences.
The evidence seemed to confirm the international community’s concerns and led to the resignation of the judge. But his replacement stuck to the original playbook and the convictions are now coming down.
Demonstrations followed the first conviction, with pro-government mobs demanding the tribunal forego appeals and move straight to the gallows. A second conviction with a life imprisonment sentence amped up the mobs and demonstrations turned to riots. But with the recent conviction of Jamaat leader Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayedee, the country is exploding. And, while there are indications the police took a policy of turning a blind eye toward pro-government rioters, they now seem to have lost control.
As someone who prosecuted war crimes in Bosnia, I understand the need for justice. However, I do not believe that there can be justice under the current tribunal, which is at best suspect, at worst a tool of a government looking to execute politicians for electoral gain.
What is required now is immediate and effective action to ensure that the trials of the accused before the tribunal are suspended pending an independent, international investigation into the serious allegations of gross misconduct against members of the tribunal including judges and prosecutors, as well as senior members of the Bangladeshi Government and undeclared third parties.
It is unclear what steps, punitive or otherwise, the U.N. Human Rights Council will take in Geneva over the coming weeks.  It will also be deliberating on Syria, Burma, Bahrain and Sri Lanka.  Arguably, two weeks ago, Bangladesh paled in comparison to these, but the events of the past several days paints an entirely different picture.
Bangladesh is descending into sectarian conflict every bit as serious as its competitors for attention, and has now matured into a fully-grown problem for the United Nations. Failure to find a resolution could see the country descend into civil war.






Hindu temples, homes under attack across Bangladesh

Source: Gulf Times


Hindu temples, homes under attack across Bangladesh
9:17 PM
13
March
2013
 A man pours water from a bucket onboard a bus after activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) set fire to it during a nationwide strike in Dhaka on Tuesday.






AFP/Dhaka
Islamic activists have attacked dozens of Hindu temples and hundreds of homes across Bangladesh since an Islamist leader was sentenced to death for war crimes last month, a Hindu group said yesterday.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, a group which looks after Hindu temples, said 47 temples and at least 700 Hindu houses had either been torched or vandalised since the verdict against Delwar Hossain Sayedee.
Sayedee, vice-president of the country’s largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to hang on February 28 for crimes including rape and murder committed during the 1971 independence conflict.
The sentencing of Sayedee and other Jamaat-e-Islami leaders has triggered the worst violence in impoverished Muslim-majority Bangladesh since independence, with 85 people so far killed in the unrest.
Kazal Debnath, a vice-president of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, blamed the attacks on Hindu temples and homes on Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.
“It was the work of the Jamaat and Shibir, but we also accuse the government, the police and the local government representatives including (our) MPs for failing to protect the temples and our community,” he said.
He said the attackers were given free rein to “torch our temples, houses and properties”.
Jamaat has denied any role in the attacks, blaming supporters of the ruling Awami League party for the violence.
But Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told diplomats last week that Jamaat and Shibir attacked Hindu temples and houses in a “pre-planned manner”.
Hindus, who make up nearly 10% of Bangladesh’s 153mn-strong population, are traditionally seen as supporters of the Awami League, which brands itself as a secular party.
They were the main targets during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan and during post-poll violence in 2001 when a centre-right party allied with Jamaat won a two-thirds majority.
Jamaat-e-Islami leaders have been on trial at the domestic International Crimes Tribunal, accused of colluding with Pakistan and pro-Pakistan militias during the war for independence.
But the party says the process is an attempt by the ruling party to settle scores and not about delivering justice.
Panel to monitor blasphemous online remarks
Bangladesh’s prime minister ordered the formation of a committee to monitor content posted online that could offend the country’s Muslim majority, officials said yesterday.
The nine member committee, headed by a senior bureaucrat at the home ministry, will take legal action against bloggers posting derogatory comments about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, government spokesman Abul Kalam Azad said.
“The home ministry will take necessary actions against the individuals uploading comments on their Facebook or blog pages undermining Islam and the Prophet,” the official said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call for the Internet monitoring committee comes after an anti-Islamist blogger was killed last month by activists from an Islamist party.
Regulators earlier blocked a few blogs and Facebook pages as atheists and Islamists launched campaigns against each other following the February 15 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.
Haider was one of the organisers of a demonstration that demanded capital punishment for a leader of the Islamist Jammat-e-Islami party for war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war.



Hindus under attack in Bangladesh, temples destroyed

Source: ZEENEWS

Dhaka: The revenge attacks on Hindus that began after a top Islamist leader was sentenced to death for war crimes continue unabated in Bangladesh with the government appearing to be in position to contain the violence. 

Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to death on February 28 for crimes including rape and murder committed during the 1971 independence conflict. 

The death sentence to Sayedee and other JeI leaders has triggered the worst violence in the Muslim-majority country since independence; 85 people have so far lost their lives in the unrest. 

Hindus, their houses and temples had come under attacks in districts like Noakhali, Satkhira and Sirajganj. 
As per an organisation that looks after Hindu temples in the country, 47 temples and at least 700 Hindu houses had either been torched or vandalised by members of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.

Jamaat, which is an ally of Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nation Party, has denied any role in the attacks, blaming supporters of the ruling Awami League party for the violence. 

For the record, Zia has demanded that the government identify and punish the perpetrators through "neutral" investigation and compensate the victims. 

"I called upon the administration and law enforcers to prevent such attacks on minorities with an iron fist," said Khaleda. 

However, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni had said last week told diplomats last week that Jamaat and Shibir attacked Hindu temples and houses in a "pre-planned manner". 

Amnesty International has made an urgent appeal to the Bangladesh government to provide its minority better protection. 
“The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty’s Researcher. 

Hindus, who make up 8-10 percent of Bangladesh's 153 million-strong population, are traditionally seen as supporters of the Awami League, which brands itself as a secular party. 

They were the main targets during Bangladesh's 1971 independence war against Pakistan and during post-poll violence in 2001 when a centre-right party allied with Jamaat won a two-thirds majority. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bangladesh minorities 'terrorised' after mob violence

Source: BBC


Destroyed houses in the village of Aladin NagarResidents of the village of Aladin Nagarhave been living in fear since the attack last month

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Saraswati Rani Das ran for her life with her two young children when a Muslim mob rampaged through her village in the southern Noakhali district of Bangladesh.
Mrs Das broke down repeatedly as she tried to explain how their tiny tin-roof house was destroyed and set on fire.
The attack started hours after a senior hardline Islamist leader was sentenced to death by a special tribunal in late February.
Jamaat-e-Islami party Vice President Delwar Hossain Sayedee was given a death sentence for crimes committed during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971.
The sentencing triggered a wave of angry protests from the Islamist party's supporters. In many districts, buildings and vehicles were damaged. More than 60 people were killed in clashes with the security forces.
Living in fear
Minority Hindu and Buddhist communities bore the brunt of the attacks as their houses and temples were vandalised and burnt down.

Start Quote

 Nurul Alam Bhuiyan
This should not have happened. We feel sorry about it. It is not in the Holy Koran”
Nurul Alam BhuiyanNoakhali district cleric
"We heard the mob was coming towards our house. So, we just ran away. Our house was completely burnt. They looted all our belongings, including our savings. We have lost everything," Mrs Das says.
The village of Aladin Nagar, about 120km (75 miles) south of the capital Dhaka, was strewn with torn tin sheets, broken glass, food grain, damaged books and burnt bicycles.
Its residents have been living in fear since the attack and are afraid that they may be targeted again.
Hindu community leaders allege that the attacks were co-ordinated and widespread. So far, they say, more than 50 temples have been damaged and more than 1,500 houses destroyed in the attacks, which took place in nearly 20 districts over the last few weeks.
In some villages near the southern city of Chittagong, statues of Buddha were damaged and Buddhist temples were vandalised.
But the authorities say that such crimes will not go unpunished.
"We are fully committed to protecting the minorities. We have taken enough measures so that these people are not attacked in the future. We have also provided sufficient relief," Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir told the BBC.
'Targeted again'
Hindus make up nearly 10% of the population of about 153 million in this Muslim-majority nation. The two communities live side by side in villages across Bangladesh.
Saraswati Rani Das Saraswati Rani Das and her children had to run for their lives when the village was attacked
Muslim community leaders have condemned the attacks.
"This should not have happened. We feel sorry about it. It is not in the Holy Koran," Noakhali district cleric Mohammad Nurul Alam Bhuiyan said.
While people like Mrs Das witnessed communal violence for the first time, Hindu businessmen like Subash Chandra Ghosh in southern Satkhira district say it was similar to what happened to them in 1971, when Bangladesh fought a bloody nine-month war against Pakistan to gain independence.
"In 1971, our house was damaged and our neighbour's house was set on fire by anti-liberation forces. We are being targeted again. What should we do?" laments Mr Ghosh, who fought for independence.
Some say the minorities are attacked because they mostly support the governing Awami League party and are a soft target.
Bangladesh has long prided itself on its secular values - but that image has taken a knock following the recent violence.
Buddhist villages in Cox's Bazar district also came under attack by Muslim mobs last year, when an image allegedly insulting the Koran was posted on Facebook by a Buddhist youth. Many Buddhist temples were vandalised in the subsequent violence.
War crimes
Investigations by the local media later revealed the youth had nothing to do with the incident.
Damaged Hindu artefacts in Aladin NagarHindu artefacts were destroyed in the mob attack in Aladin Nagar
The independence war came to an end after India sent in troops on behalf of the Bengalis. More than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers and officers surrendered to the Indian army and were taken as prisoners of war.
Official estimates say more than three million were killed and tens of thousands of women raped during the war. The minority Hindu community suffered disproportionately because some Pakistanis blamed them for Bangladesh's secession.
A special tribunal in Bangladesh is prosecuting those accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces and carrying out atrocities more than 40 years ago.
The recent violence is mainly blamed on the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, whose leaders are facing war crimes at the tribunal. But the party - which opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan - denies the charges.
"The Jamaat-e-Islami is a peaceful political party and they do not encourage any violent activities. People who took part in the attack on minorities belong to other political parties," asserts Mohammad Tajul Islam, a Jamaat leader in Noakhali district.
Hindu community leaders say the attacks are systematic and have been going on for years. They say they are not only carried out by hardline Islamists but also by supporters of other mainstream political parties, including the Awami League and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The aim of the violence, Hindu leaders allege, is to grab land and other property. As a result, they say, many Hindus are fleeing to India to escape harassment, intimidation and violence.
"In 1947, Hindus constituted around 30% of the population," says Subroto Chowdhury, a Hindu community leader in Dhaka.
"Now it is less than 10%. Hindus are being warned to leave so that locals can take over their land and houses.
"Our community is being persecuted."
But Mr Alamgir, the home minister, says historically there have been movement of Hindus to India and Muslims to Bangladesh - because of various incidents.
"These are aberrations. The governments of the two countries are determined to make sure that they stay in full peace and security."
And people like Mr Ghosh say they will resist attempts to drive them away from Bangladesh.
"This is our motherland and we have been living here for 25 generations. We cannot imagine of leaving this land. This is our country."

Bangladeshi minorities protest at Rådhuspladsen

Source: The Copenhagen Post


Small group protests against treatment of minorities in their home country
img_src
The group was protesting against the treatment of religious minorities in Bangladesh (Photo: Minorities from Bangladesh in Denmark)
A small group of protesters took to Rådhuspladsen on Saturday to lend their support to minorities in Bangladesh. 
The group, ‘Minorities from Bangladesh in Denmark’, said they were protesting because of the suffering endured by religious minorities in the largely Muslim country.  The protests were aimed in particular against the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami.
“They [Jamaat-e-Islami] are destroying temples, burning houses and looting properties of Hindus, killing the innocent and making them landless,” the group said in a statement to The Copenhagen Post. “We, the minorities from Bangladesh living in Denmark, strictly condemn and protest the brutal torture against minorities in Bangladesh. We appeal to Bangladeshi and world leaders to save the minorities from the cruelty of Jamaat-e-Islami and others, and ensure their security within Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the population. Hindus make up around eight to ten percent of the population.
According to Statistics Denmark, there are just over 1,000 Bangladeshis residing in Denmark.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Press Release: HRCBM is gravely concerned of ongoing violence against minorities in Bangladesh


View this press release at Briefingwire.

Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)
P.O. Box 5493             
Santa Clara, CA 95056
USA
http://www.hrcbm.org;Email:appeal@hrcbm.org
Ph: 212-592-3627
Fax: 619-330-0662



HRCBM Press Release
Tuesday, 07 March 2013

Religious Minorities, the Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Tribal People Must be Protected.
Human Rights Must be Upheld and the Criminals Must be Dealt with Iron-Hands.

Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) is gravely concerned of the ongoing violence against religious minorities since the announcement by the “International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)” of the verdict: death by hanging, for Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, one of the leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party for the “crimes against humanity” that he committed during the 1971 War of Liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. The ICT found him guilty of charges of mass killing, rape, arson and religious persecution during the liberation war.

The ICT announced the verdict on 28 February 2013. Immediately after the verdict, Jamaat-e-Islami and Chhatra Shibir (the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami) attacked the Hindu community across the country. They set ablaze Hindu and Buddhist temples, and torched houses and business establishments of the Hindus in the districts of Noakhali, Gaibandha, Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet, Comilla, Chapainawabganj, Gournadi, Chandpur and many other districts in the country. They were heavily armed, and attacked the police also. They killed innocent people and the police who tried to protect the people. The violence is spreading widely throughout the country and the minorities are fearful for their life and livelihood. The Jamat-Shibir fanatics have adopted the same tactics as they did in 1971 in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation army.

The peoples, governments, and non-governmental organizations of the world MUST NOT allow repetition of the heinous crimes that were committed by the coalition of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamat-e-Islami, following their victory in General Election of 2001. The Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Indigenous people were the victims of their barbaric atrocities in 2001 and they are the victims now. 

We appeal to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the conscience of the governments, human rights institutions, The United States of America, and United Nations for immediate protection of the life, properties and freedom of expression of the religious and ethnic minorities, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Tribal People, and all citizens of Bangladesh.

We urge the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to protect the minorities. The perpetrators must be prosecuted, the victims must be compensated and rehabilitated and the criminals must be dealt with iron hands.

A glimpse of the ongoing brutal atrocities and violence is given in the following page.

Dhiman Deb Chowdhury
President, Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)


HRCBM Press Release (Continued from page 1)
Date A glimpse of the ongoing brutal atrocities and violence reported in Newspapers and Media
2-Mar-13
Attack on temples, arson and demolition of Deities
2-Mar-13
Attacks on Noakhali Hindus: Victims feel insecure: The attackers damaged six Hindu temples, torched 36 houses and vandalised.
3-Mar-13
Communal attack once again on temples and houses
3-Mar-13
A sin for ‘em to live here: Hindus in Noakhali, Banskhali look for answer after attack by Jamaat
4-Mar-13
When religious minorities are the target
4-Mar-13
Attack in Hindu temple and demolition of Deity in Gajipur
4-Mar-13
This time too the target of Jamaat-e-Islami is police force and religious minorities
4-Mar-13
UK deplores the attack on temples
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=271245
4-Mar-13
Violence against minority community
6-Mar-13
Jamaat continues attacking Hindus
4-Mar-13
Islamic Brutality on Bangladesh Hindu- Buddhists Minorities
6-Mar-13
US worried at attacks on Hindus
5-Mar-13
Hindu temples torched, vandalised in Ctg, Lalmonirhat
28-Feb-13
Jamaat men torch Hindu temple, houses in Noakhali; 2 killed
1-Mar-13
Hindus under attack- 6 temples, houses burnt outside Dhaka
6-Mar-13
US worried at attacks on Hindus

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