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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hundreds of Hindus attacked in post-poll violence in Bangladesh take shelter in temples

Source: India Today

Hundreds of Hindu families had to flee their homes following post-poll violence in different districts in neighbouring Bangladesh and are too scared to return as the administration could not ensure their security.

According to The Daily Star and several other newspapers, activists of main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its key-ally fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami attacked Hindu households in western Jessore and northwestern Dinajpur as soon as the voting ended on Sunday afternoon.

Media report said that BNP and Jamaat men looted, vandalised and burned Hindu houses in Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra, Lalmonirhat, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Jessore.

Bangladeshi police officers kick a suspect after an attack on a polling station in Bogra, north of Dhaka. Sunday's general elections were marred by violence and a boycott by the opposition, which dismissed the polls as a farce. Police fired at protesters, and more than 100 polling stations were torched. AP photo
The Daily Star quoted villagers as saying that the attacks came following their decision to cast votes despite a warning from Jamaat men.

The villagers told reporters that 400-500 Jamaat activists exploded about 250 bombs, vandalised a hundred houses and torched 10 to 12 others.

Of around 1,200 to 1,500 people in the village, inhabited mostly by fishermen, 700 fled their houses soon after the attack. They took shelter in nearby villages while some of them hid in orchards.

Hundreds of others took refuge at a temple in Goreya upazila since Sunday night in fear of attacks by Jamaat-BNP men.

According to The Daily Star, locals said they had called police, ruling Awami league leaders and the administration over the mobile phones but nobody came to help. Police were seen after 9:00pm, when it was all over.

The newspaper's correspondent, during a visit to Tahukrgaon on Monday afternoon found about twelve hundred people from five hundred Hindu families of Gopalpur village sheltered at an Iscon (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple.

In Dinajpur, at least 350 houses and 50 shops were damaged, set ablaze and looted. According to locals, around 2,000 Jamaat men armed with sharp weapons and sticks launched the attack at Kornai village on Sunday evening.

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