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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ensure security for Hindus in Begumganj: HC

Source: Financial Express

The High Court (HC) Sunday ordered the authorities to ensure security for the Hindu community and their temples in Begumganj of Noakhali district as they were attacked by the Jama'at-Shibir activists on Thursday, reports BSS.

The bench with Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Mahmudul Haque made this order by issuing a suo moto rule. The court also asked the concerned to reconstruct the houses, damaged by Jama'at-Shibir men.

It also asked them to explain as to why order should not be given to take proper action against persons responsible for ransacking and damaging the houses, temples and other places of worship.

Senior assistant secretary of the Home Ministry, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Deputy Commissioner and Police Super of Noakhali and officer-in-charge (OC) of Begumganj thana were asked to reply to the rule by next ten days. They were also asked to submit a progress report about compliance of court's order by this time.

The court, before issuing the order, sought opinions from three senior Supreme Court lawyers-Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, Advocate Abdul Matin Khasru and Advocate M Khurshed Alam Khan-who were present in the courtroom at that time.

Several newspapers and television channel published and telecast the news of ransacking and torching the houses of Hindu community people and their prayer centres by Jama'at-Shibir activists soon after the verdict was pronounced by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) awarding death penalty to Jama'at leader Delwar Hussain Sayedee on last Thursday.

Ensure security for Hindus in Begumganj: HC

Source: Financial Express

The High Court (HC) Sunday ordered the authorities to ensure security for the Hindu community and their temples in Begumganj of Noakhali district as they were attacked by the Jama'at-Shibir activists on Thursday, reports BSS.

The bench with Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Mahmudul Haque made this order by issuing a suo moto rule. The court also asked the concerned to reconstruct the houses, damaged by Jama'at-Shibir men.

It also asked them to explain as to why order should not be given to take proper action against persons responsible for ransacking and damaging the houses, temples and other places of worship.

Senior assistant secretary of the Home Ministry, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Deputy Commissioner and Police Super of Noakhali and officer-in-charge (OC) of Begumganj thana were asked to reply to the rule by next ten days. They were also asked to submit a progress report about compliance of court's order by this time.

The court, before issuing the order, sought opinions from three senior Supreme Court lawyers-Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, Advocate Abdul Matin Khasru and Advocate M Khurshed Alam Khan-who were present in the courtroom at that time.

Several newspapers and television channel published and telecast the news of ransacking and torching the houses of Hindu community people and their prayer centres by Jama'at-Shibir activists soon after the verdict was pronounced by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) awarding death penalty to Jama'at leader Delwar Hussain Sayedee on last Thursday.

Bangla HC orders security for Hindus in violence-hit area

Source: Znews

Dhaka: Bangladesh High Court on Sunday ordered the government to take steps for the security of the minority Hindu community in southeastern Begumganj where suspected rightwing activists attacked several temples and houses during clashes over 1971 war crimes trial in the past three days. 

"The court asked the government to take steps to ensure the minority community's security and repair their temples and houses which were damaged in the attacks," a spokesman of the attorney general's office told PTI. 
He said the High Court bench comprising judges AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Mahmudul Haque issued a suo moto notice ordering the local district and police administration, the home secretary and the inspector general of police "to take proper action against persons responsible for ransacking and damaging the houses, temples and other places of worship". 
The order came as several newspapers and television channels published and telecast the news of ransacking and torching of houses of Hindus and their temples by fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami activists on Thursday as part of their violent campaign to thwart the ongoing trial of their leaders for 1971 war crimes. 

The reports said at least five temples and 36 Hindu houses were vandalised or torched at Begumganj sub-district of Noakhali.

HC pulls up government

Source: bdnews24.com

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The High Court on Sunday directed the government to ensure full security for Hindu households and their temples which were attacked and vandalised on Thursday at Noakhali’s Begumganj.

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The bench of justices AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury and Mahmudul Hoque issued the suo moto rule following newspaper reports regarding the incident.

The court ordered the government to undertake repair of the houses of the affected Hindu families.

It issued a rule asking why no orders should be given to take legal measures and arrest those responsible for the attacks.

The court has asked the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Home Ministry, Inspector General of Police, the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Noakhali district and Begumganj Police Station Officer-in-Charge to respond to the rule within 10 days.

They would also have to submit a report on the progress of their action over the court’s direction.

Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir on Thursday set fire to the Hindu houses and temples in Noakhali hours after Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was awarded death sentence by the International Crimes Tribunal-1.

Right after the verdict, leaders and activists of Jamaat and Shibir took out a procession at Begumganj upazila and then carried out the violent attacks.

Several newspapers and media outlets including bdnews24.com reported the attacks at Alampur and Aladinnagar villages at Rajganj union under the upazila.
The report said that at least 76 Hindu families lost everything in the Jamaat-Shibir rampage. “Jamaat and Shibir activists attacked 10 Hindu households of the area and set 36 houses on fire. They also vandalised and looted 53 houses there.”

The activists of the fundamentalist party, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, vandalised and torched five Hindu temples including those at Rajganj Bazar, Thakur Barhi and Kalirhaat areas.

Crowds and justice at Shahbag

Source: bdnews224.com

Bangladesh’s quest for closure threatens to morph into the paralysing dysfunctionality that has characterized its politics. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Bangladesh’s quest for closure threatens to morph into the paralysing dysfunctionality that has characterized its politics. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
One of the truly significant aspects about the emotional upsurge at Shahbag in Dhaka—the hundreds of thousands of candles, the portrait of Jahanara Imam who lost her son in the liberation war in 1971 and fought for the rest of her life seeking justice—is that an overwhelmingly large number of the demonstrators are under the age of 40. Most were not born when Bangladesh emerged from its blood-soaked birth. Their fight is outwardly for an even harsher punishment (meaning death) for Abdul Kader Mullah, the Jamaat-i-Islami leader who foolishly flashed a victory sign when he was sentenced to life in prison for complicity in war crimes, and others against whom verdicts are awaited. But more fundamentally, they are trying to regain history, to assert their identity. Too often has the promise of Bangla nationalism been stolen, its national aspiration challenged, its spirit of unity based on language—irrespective of faith—reviled, its past rewritten, and the generation that fought for independence betrayed. Now it is time to reclaim the past.
For those who tuned in late: after Pakistan refused to let Sheikh Mujibur Rahman form the national government even after his Awami League had won the majority in elections, and unleashed a reign of terror in its eastern wing, hundreds of thousands of people were killed and women were raped. These criminal acts didn’t occur in isolation; pro-Islamist militia and Jamaat activists actively collaborated with Pakistani forces, leading them to the homes of nationalists, secularists, intellectuals, Awami supporters, Hindus, and others. They also participated in killing, looting, and raping. Ten million refugees arrived in India. In December 1971, Pakistan attacked India, providing India with the legal rationale to join the battle. In two weeks, Pakistani troops surrendered.
After the war, Bangladesh passed laws to try Pakistani troops and collaborators for war crimes. But India and Pakistan wanted to repatriate their prisoners-of-war, and Pakistan said it would try its officers and men who had committed war crimes. It never did, causing justified bitterness among many Bangladeshis who sought justice. A few recent memoirs of Pakistani officers admit some of the crimes, which is a small, necessary conciliatory step, but one many Bangladeshis don’t consider enough.
The assassination of Mujib in 1975 made justice more elusive. The governments that followed not only showed little interest in pursuing the collaborators, they even formed political alliances with the Jamaat, whose leadership comprised young men that most Bangladeshis say were collaborators, and in some instances, direct perpetrators. Adding to the humiliation of victims, some of the Jamaatis became ministers. The political paralysis made things worse.
While campaigning in the last elections, the Awami League promised to revive the prosecutions, and was stunned to receive a massive mandate from the young—many not born in 1971. It set up tribunals to try several accused, all except one from the Jamaat (the remaining accused is with the main opposition Bangladesh National Party, or BNP).
Justice should be firm and swift, and the trial fair. It isn’t Bangladesh’s fault that the trials could not begin for 40 years. But the trials could have been administered in a far better way. While the trials are conducted in a way that’s superior to regular criminal trials in Bangladesh, they do fall short of international standards. There have been serious questions about changed procedures. In one case, the defence has alleged that one of its witnesses has disappeared; in another case, a prosecution witness has died under mysterious circumstances; and rules and laws have been changed during the trial and now, after the verdict (allowing the appellate court to increase the sentence). And, in a sensational development, The Economist magazine revealed perplexing discussions about tactics between the judges and prosecutors with experts based abroad who had no official status. The presiding judge then resigned.
The life imprisonment verdict for Mullah had disappointed many Bangladeshis, but their simmering outrage boiled over when they saw in his “V” sign a message to his followers: wait for elections; we’ll be in coalition with the BNP, and I will be free. Calls for the death penalty for all collaborators intensified. Liberal human rights activists now face the dilemma of seeing a mass movement for justice, which they like, demanding the death penalty, which they dislike. The movement asks: if ordinary criminals get death penalty for murder, why not war criminals?
The government has hastily agreed to some demands, enraging the Jamaat youth, who rioted, vandalizing martyrs’ monuments in several cities. One blogger has been found murdered; four people have died in the violence. As the government is considering banning the Jamaat, the BNP is backing the Jamaat. The nation’s quest for closure threatens to morph into the paralysing dysfunctionality that has characterized its politics.
A dominant Jamaat will make Bangladesh look more like Pakistan, a joyless prospect Bangladeshis are rejecting loudly. But they must hold on to the principles of fair trial, and reject quick fixes and changing rules halfway. The stakes can’t get higher.

Sabotage bid to halt war crimes trial

Source: bdnews24.com

In its desperation to thwart the war crimes trial, the Jamaat-e-Islami has started ‘sabotaging’ rail communication across Bangladesh, authorities claimed Friday.

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Rail tracks were set on fire, a slipper was found removed and fishplates were dislocated in Chittagong’s Sitakunda, Feni and Lalmonirhat after the first war crimes tribunal awarded death sentence to Jamaat executive council member Delwar Hossain Sayedee for his crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

Six coaches of inter-city Mahanagar Godhuli train derailed late Thursday night following removal of fishplates near Feni.

Both police and railway officials believe the Jamaat-e-Islami is behind these incidents.

Railways Minister Mohammad Mujibul Haque also said that those who did not want the war criminals to be tried and were against the independence of Bangladesh were carrying out these sabotages.

He also said security measures were being beefed up to prevent the incidents of sabotage.

A pro-Jamaat-Shibir facebook page named ‘Basher Kella’ Thursday posted several sabotage plans including damaging railway tracks.

One of the posts under the heading, roughly translated into English, ‘Things to do’, had 10 disruptive acts to be carried out. The first one was to “uproot all railway tracks right away”.

The ICT-1 Thursday noon judged that Jamaat policymaker Sayedee would be hanged for his crimes against humanity including genocide, murder, rape, arson, loot and persecution during the Liberation War.

The verdict came at a time when mass protests across the country are going on in demand of capital punishment to all war criminals.

However, hours after Sayedee was handed down death sentence, the Jamaat and its student affiliate the Islami Chhatra Shibir activists started carrying out violent attacks in different districts across the country. At least 35 people, including four policemen, died and hundreds of others were injured in the fierce clashes.

The Jamaat-Shibir activists also attacked and vandalised temples and houses of Hindus in various parts of the country.

Railway's east zone traffic official Jakir Hossain said rail tracks near Kumira Station at Sitakunda were set on fire at Thursday noon.

Mohanagar Godhuli from Chittagong to Dhaka was halted at around 3pm following the fire, but the service resumed at around 5pm.

But the Godhuli coming from Dhaka had fallen prey to an act of sabotage in the night.

Feni Rail Station Manager Mahbubur Rahman told bdnews24.com some miscreants had dislodged the track's fishplate clips, leading to derailment of six coaches of Mahanagar Godhuli near the railway station at Khajuria area at around 11:00pm on Thursday night.

The accident closed Chittagong’s railway communication with the rest of the country. No casualties or injuries were reported, but the passengers suffered for a long time.

The was resumed on Friday morning at around 10:15 am after rescue trains went there and carried out the salvage and the repair works.

Meanwhile, a slipper was also found removed from the tracks in Aditmari of Lalmonirhat on Thursday night. However, any mishaps or delays in trains were not reported as the authorities quickly fixed the problem, said Lalmonirhat Station Master Mojibor Rahman.

Railways Minister Mazibul Hoque told bdnews24.com: “Railway police and other law enforcement forces are trying to control the situation at those places where the acts of sabotages are being carried out.”

He said extra measures have been taken to avoid any kind of sabotage. “All measures have been taken to maintain normal service. If anything happens even after that, those will be taken care of immediately.”

The minister also hinted that Jamaat-e-Islami was behind all these acts of sabotage. He said, “Those who are against trying the war criminals and opposed Bangladesh’s independence are carrying out these sabotages.”

Meanwhile, disruptive acts found its place in the posts of pro-Jamaat-Shibir facebook page ‘Basher Kella’ which also said ‘paralyse all launch and bus terminals, isolate Dhaka from all districts, siege all police stations, rural people must be informed about Sayedee, attack all media outlets which works as middleman, measures must be taken to broadcast in the international media of footages of police firing, siege all embassies, and burning down all residences of ministers and MPs’.

Additional Inspector General of Police Shahidul Haque told bdnews24.com that the law enforcers were ready to tackle all kind of attempts of sabotage.

“We are working with the people to prevent this anarchy. I urge everyone to provide assistance in this regard.”

Bagerhat, Barisal Hindu temples set ablaze

Source: bdnews24.com 


Two Hindu temples in Bagerhat and Rajshahi were set on fire on Saturday as supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami continued to target minorities following the death verdict on their leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

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“We heard that the Dumuria Sharbajaneen temple in the Ramchandrapur Union has been set on fire. We are going to the spot,” Morelganj upazila local Officer in-Charge Mohammad Aslam Uddin told bdnews24.com.

He said the residences of Narayan Chandra Basu Chowdhury, President of Awami League’s Banogram Union unit and Taposh Sen of Barurbula village under the same union were also set ablaze.

Police blamed Jamaat-Shibir for hate attacks on Hindu households and shops in southern Chittagong and Noakhali on Thursday, soon after Sayadee's death verdict was announced.

Jamaat, however, refuted the allegations.

Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Bagerhat, Pankaj Candra Ray has already visited the spots.

Bagerhat SP Khandaker Rafiqul Islam has described the incidents as ‘mysterious’.

“The victims are not making any specific complaints. We are trying to identify the perpetrators through investigation. We can’t say anything before the probe ends,” he said.

Basu Chowdhury, however, said the activists of BNP might have carried out the attacks.

Nabogram Union parishad Chairman and also President of BNP’s Nabogram union unit Abdul Zobber Molla told bdnews24.com that the allegations are false.

On Thursday night, miscreants vandalised a Hindu temple at Pingjour village at Chingrekhali union in the same upazila.

A case was later filed at the Morrelganj Police Station accusing some unknown men over the attack.

Meanwhile, the local administration has slapped a ban on public gathering for nine hours from 9am at the district’s Foylahat Bazar area of Rampal upazila after Awami League and Jamaat-e-Islami announced to hold rallies at the same place and at the same time.

Police said another Hindu temple at Nalcira union at Gauranadi upazila of Barisal was set on fire in the early hours of Saturday.

The affected Pinglakathi Sharbajaneen Durga Mandir’s committee chief Nabakrishna Dutta blamed ‘unknown miscreants’ for the incident.

Gauranadi Police Station OC Abul Kalam said Dutta filed a case in the morning.

“We are yet to arrest anyone over the case,’ he said.

Locals told bdnews24.com some of students and teachers of an adjacent madrasa have been absconding following the incident.

bdnews24.com Correspondent said another statue was vandalised in Gazipur’s Kashimpur area.

Bangladesh FM condemns Jamaat-e-Islami attacks on minority Hindus in Bangladesh

Source: ANI

Dhaka, Mar. 3 (ANI): Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Sunday condemned reports of Jamaat-e-Islami activists attacking minority Hindus and their temples in different parts of the country.
"It is unfortunate and deplorable. The (Bangladesh) government will not tolerate any attempt to destabilize the country, or allow any breach of communal harmony," Moni said on the sidelines of her meeting with visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
Bangladesh media has reported over the past couple of days that activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami have attacked at least six temples and several houses of Hindus in Noakhali District's Begumganj area.
The attacks on Hindus were carried out shortly after Jamaat executive council member Delwar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death for his role in perpetrating war crimes during the 1971 war for independence.
Leaders and activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student affiliate Islami Chhatra Shibir have been taking out processions in Begumganj's Rajganj Bazar.
The bdnews.com web site quoted Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of the Begumganj circle, Mahbub Alam Khan, as saying that the attacks were carried out from that procession and the Hindu temples at Rajganj Bazar, Thakur Barhi and Bainnabarhi areas were vandalised.
The attackers also set the residences of Bhuiyan and Banik families on fire, leaving six people injured.
There are also reports that activists of the Jamaat clashed with police in Noakhali town following the verdict.
Shibir activists detonated several crude bombs at that time.
At least 12 buses have been vandalised and another four torched at the Al-Amin Bus Depot at Dattar Haat.
Reports said that the police had to fire at least a hundred rounds of ammunition from their shotguns to bring the situation under control.
Houses and business in Gaibandha, Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet and Rajganj have also faced the attacks of the Jamaat and the Chhatra Shibir. By Ravi Khandelwal(ANI)

Hindus under attack in Bangladesh

Source: NITI Central


Hindus under attack in Bangladesh
Conspicuous by its absence on Indian news television, the current crisis in Bangladesh is nothing less than history catching up with the young nation after war and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Pakistani army in 1971 gave it wounds that have remained unhealed for more than four decades.
After Islamists amended the young nation’s Constitution in 1977 and 1988 to make “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah as the basis of all actions” its fundamental guiding principle, it was not until 2010 that a Tribunal was set up to provide justice to those who had been slaughtered by Rezakars in the aftermath of Bangladesh’s war of independence.
Awarding of a death sentences to war criminals Abul Kalam Azad and Delawar Hossain Sayedee followed by life imprisonment to Abdul Quader Mollah have triggered a fresh wave of attacks on Hindus in the country.
Daily Star reports that on Saturday alone, members of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir have attacked and destroyed six temples and set fire to several Hindu houses and business in Noakhali, Gaibandha, Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet, Chapainawabganj and Rajganj. These attacks of course, are in addition to the violence unleashed by Islamists in the last three days in which more than a dozen people have lost their lives.

Shahbag crisis: At least 44 killed in riots

The situation, perhaps not surprisingly, is reminiscent of the state of affairs that prevailed during the early days of the Bangladeshi Government’s tryst with Islamists when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared a general amnesty for Islamists against whom trials had not yet been initiated. Rahman was assassinated in 1975, paving the way for a series of military coups and a general chaos that still lasts.
The current Sheikh Hasina Government too, in its turn, seems unwilling to anger rioting Jamaatis and is in no mood to do anything about the riots that seem to be killing the country’s Hindus. Political motivations that kept Mujibur Rahman from coming down hard upon Islamists in the beginning of the nation’s history hold the Government hostage still.
The persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus in the wake of a setback to the Islamist cause is happening exactly as it did back in 1971. Back then, the reason was the Bangladeshi freedom movement. This time, the reason is justice catching up with the war criminals.
>> In Chittagong, Jamaati Islamists attacked Hindu majority localities at Jaldi union of Banshkhali upazila and set fire to a Buddhist temple.
>> Jamaat members also burned houses at Dhopapara and Mohajonpara and attacked people with sticks, iron rods and sharp weapons.
>> The rioters also burned three shops belonging to Hindus at Kaliash union of Satkania upazila.
>> Members of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked a temple and business establishments belonging to Hindus at Bhelkobazar in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha district.
>> Rioters also vandalised some houses in Shovaganj union.
>> Vandalism, arson and looting took place in temples, houses and business establishments of Hindus in Sylhet, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Laxmipur and Chapainawabganj.
>> Attackers had vandalised the central Kali temple at Mithapukur upazila in Rangpur and another at Kansat in Chapainawabganj.
(Source: Daily star)
The situation wasn’t very different in 1971. Delivering the death sentence to Sayedee, the judges said they had established that he “…took active part in the attacks directed against civilian population at Parerhat area, causing murder, deportation, rape, looting of goods, setting fire to the houses and shops of civilians, forceful religious conversion, inhuman acts and torture which fall within the purview of crimes against humanity.”
Some of the charges against Sayedee, with regard to his crimes of 1971, are as follows.
>> On May 4, 1971, Sayedee and his accomplices, accompanied by the Pakistani army looted the houses of members of the Hindu community and opened fire indiscriminately on them in front of Dhopa Bari and behind the LGED Building in Pirojpur, leaving four persons killed.
>> On May 7, 1971, Sayedee identified the houses and shops of Bangalees belonging to the Awami League, Hindu community and supporters of the Liberati on War at Parerhat Bazar under Pirojpur Sadar. Sayedee as one of the perpetrators raided those shops and houses and looted valuables, including 22 seers of gold and silver from the shop of one Makhanlal Saha.
>> On May 8, 1971, Sayedee and his accomplices accompanied by the Pakistan army raided the house of one Manik Posari at Chitholia under Pirojpur Sadar and caught his brother Mofizuddin and one Ibrahim. Sayedee’s accomplices then burnt five houses there. On the way to the Pakistani army’s camp, Sayedee instigated the members of the occupation force to kill Ibrahim by gunshot and dump his body near a bridge. On the other hand, Mofiz was taken to the army camp and tortured. Sayedee directly participated in the abduction, murder and persecution of the victims.
>> On June 2, 1971, Sayedee’s armed associates under his leadership and accompanied by the Pakistan army burnt 25 houses of a Hindu Para in Umedpur village under Indurkani Police Station. At one stage, a victim, Bisabali, was tied to a coconut tree and was shot dead by Sayedee’s accomplice.
>> One day a group comprising 15-20 armed accomplices of Sayedee under his leadership entered the Hindu Para of Parerhat Bazar under Pirojpur Sadar and captured 14 Hindus, who were all supporters of Bangladesh’s independence. The fourteen were then tied with a single rope and dragged to Pirojpur and handed over to Pakistani soldiers, who killed them. Their bodies were thrown into the river.