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Friday, January 10, 2014

Tribunal demanded for trial of minority attackers

Source: UNB Connect

Dhaka, Jan 10 (UNB) – Rights activists and civil society members at a rally here on Friday urged the government to constitute a tribunal to bring those involved in communal attacks on minority communities to justice.

They said the victims always seek justice but a vested quarter is carrying out attacks on minorities because of impunity, and the situation is getting worse day by day.

Nagorik Sanghati, a civil society platform, oragnised the rally in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh in the morning protesting the attacks on minorities after the January 5 parliamentary polls.

Chaired by Nagarik Sanghati president ASM Atiqur Rahman, the rally was addressed, among others by former general secretary of Dhaka University Teachers Association (Duta) Dr Akhteruzzaman, filmmaker Moshiuddin Shaker, Engr Sardar Amin, farmers’ leader Anwarul Islam Babu and Nagarik Sanghati general secretary Sharifuzzaman Sharif.

They said the communal force had carried out attacks on members of the Hindu community during the Liberation War in 1971 and they are still active and making attacks on the Hindus and their worship places.

They said the anti-liberation force, Jamaat-Shibir, and its allies are involved in the recent communal attacks taking advantage of the existing political instability.

They demanded that the attackers be brought under trial immediately apart from providing compensations among the victims as they have been living a miserable life after the attacks.

The January 5 election reminded the vulnerable minority community of the brutal treatment it received 43 years ago at the hands of marauding Pakistani forces and their local cohorts.

The Hindus in particular have become the easy target of anti-election activists as they attacked their houses and other property, assuming that they have voted for the ruling Awami League ignoring their directive to refrain from doing so.

Most of the attacks took place in the minority-dominated villages of Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Jessore districts after the 10thgeneral election.

Notorious robber after Hindus

Source: The Daily Star

Rape, extortion targeted at the community; he enjoys 'blessings of BNP-Jamaat'

Notorious robber after Hindus
Krishna Haldar and his family standing before their home burnt to the ground at Gabtola Shikdermallik union in Pirojpur. Robbers, allegedly blessed by 18-party alliance men, torched their home during a blockade on December 5. Photo: TAWFIQUE ALI

Some Hindu families at Shikdermallik union of Pirojpur Sadar upazila have fled their homes in the face of rape, extortion and arson by an infamous band of robbers.
Villagers are tight-lipped in fear of further torture by robber Ashraf Ali Sheikh and his gang, who with blessings of Jamaat-BNP men are committing the crimes as police take no action over the incidents, said victims.      
Robbers broke into the houses of Nimai Mistri and Girish Mistri in Gabtola village in mid-September last year.
“Actually, the perpetrators stormed the poor households of Nimai and Girish to rape women,” said an arson victim of South Gabtola village.
Invariably, it is the Hindus who fall victims to such heinous crimes as they are believed to be in a weak social position and do not protest, he rued.   
Nimai Mistri said a gang of masked criminals broke open the door of his house on September 14 midnight and two of the gang held him on the bed.
“Please forgive me. I can't tell you more. The criminals are publicly known and they will just kill me if I name them. I've to survive with my wife and daughter,” he mentioned.
Judhishthir Roy of Jujkhola village left for India along with his young daughter soon after she was raped and did not return yet, said other villagers. The daughter was to take the SSC exams this year.
“In fact, at least 100 incidents of rape have occurred in the area over the past couple of months, but the victims suppressed the incidents fearing social disgrace,” said a witness, who testified in a rape case.
After being violated, some of the victims left the village to stay in Pirojpur town.      
Judhishthir's family member Porimol Roy and two brothers from Gabtola village, Bhabotosh Mistri and Shailen Mistri, left for India to avoid the extortion racket of Ashraf, complained villagers.
Krishna Haldar, whose house in Gabtola was plundered and set afire on December 5 midnight, said, “Criminals ruined me as I have sent my wife to my in-laws' house for security.”     
His nine-year-old daughter Ripa Haldar said, “Four masked men broke into our house, beat up my father and looked for my mother.”   
Shikdermallik union has a population of around 16,000 people. Among them, 6,000 are Hindu voters and 5,000 Muslims.
Gazi Nuruzzaman Babul, president of Pirojpur district BNP, said his party did not use Ashraf Ali for political end.
“But he [Ashraf] might have worked for Jamaat-Shibir, who have been committing crimes protesting the war crimes trial,” he mentioned, adding that police are well aware of the repression of religious minorities.  
Sayedee Foundation, named after convicted war criminal Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee, operates a technical madrasa at the union. Many believe that it is the den of local Jamaat-Shibir thugs, said Babul.
Criminals on December 13 last year burnt down the house of Bidhan Chandra Mistri at South Gabtola village. Bidhan is a union-level Awami League leader and retired founder headmaster of South Gabtola High School.  
“We've never before seen such incidents of robbery, rape, extortion and arson that we are facing recently during hartals and blockades,” said Bidhan. Majority of the Hindus lived here with the Muslims in traditional harmony.  
Criminals twice robbed the house of Kiran Chandra Mirbar, a Hindu priest in Jujkhola, he mentioned.
Abdur Razzaq, officer-in-charge of Pirojpur Sadar Police Station, said the “crimes arose out of the internal feuds of the local Hindus” and the incidents have no connection with politics.
He, however, later admitted that Ashraf Ali Sheikh was accused in half a dozen criminal cases with the police station.          
SM Akhtaruzzaman, superintendent of police (SP) in Pirojpur, said, “Ashraf is a criminal listed with the police. We've heard of rape and arson allegations against him.”  
“Despite all our attempts, police and Rapid Action Battalion have not yet been able to arrest Ashraf as he doesn't stay in the area,” he added.  
It's very difficult for police to raid the villages in Shikdermallik union as those are surrounded by wetlands and paddy fields, with the main road to the union tattered, mentioned the SP.
Police deployed at a local camp have been patrolling the area, said the official.

Attacks on minorities trigger protest, immediate trial of perpetrators demanded

Source: Dhaka Tribune

Ganajagaran Mancha observed a rally yesterday protesting the attacks on minorities and urged people to resist such attacks

  •  Activists of Ganajagaran Mancha bring out a procession at Shahbagh yesterday before starting for the road march to Malopara of Jessore. The Mancha called out for the march to protest communal violence by the oppositions  
    Photo- Dhaka Tribune
Various human rights, cultural and civil society organisations yesterday raised their voices against the attacks on minority people across the country and demanded an immediate trial of the perpetrators.
Ganajagaran Mancha observed a rally yesterday protesting the attacks on minorities and urged people to resist such attacks.
“For the last 43 years, it had only been limited to protest programmes, but it is high time we actually took steps to resist such heinous acts, not just being content with mere protests,” Imran H Sarker, spokesperson of Ganajagaran Mancha, said while reacting to the attacks on minorities.
Imran was addressing a rally in front of the main gate of Jahangirnagar University as part of their two-day “Road March” to Jessore.
Human Right’s Forum Bangladesh also condemned the attacks on the Hindus in a statement yesterday.
Meanwhile, civil society platform Nagarik Sanghati yesterday urged the government to constitute a tribunal for bringing perpetrators involved in communal attack on minorities to justice.
The victims of such attacks always seek justice, but a vested quarter is carrying out attacks on minorities because of impunity, and the situation is worsening gradually, the speakers said, addressing the rally in front of the National Museum in the capital.
They also urged the government to bring the attackers under trial immediately apart from providing compensation to the victims living a miserable life after the attacks.
Meanwhile, 10 civil society organisations observed a human chain and silent procession in Habiganj city, protesting the violence against minority people. They called upon the government for immediate arrest of perpetrators and take measures to secure every people of the country.
Civil society leaders of Khagrachari organised a discussion that criticised the role of law enforcement agencies during the attack and urged the government to enact a tougher law to ensure rights of minority community in the country.
They also demanded proper compensation and rehabilitation for the victims, apart from taking steps to secure their life and properties.
Communist Party Bangladesh observed a human chain and demonstration at Narayanganj.
It said BNP and Awami League were blaming one another for the attack on minorities. Such blame game helped the perpetrators to hide out, added the party.
The speakers of the party laid blame on Police, RAB and local Awami League leaders, saying these people were at the places where such attacks took place, but they did not take any action against the attackers.
Human chain and rally were observed at Feni, Kurigram Madaripur, Gopalganj, and Sirajganj districts protesting the attacks.
Meanwhile, a team of police arrested Akkas Ali, a local leader of Jamaat-e-Islami from Kochubunia village in Morelganj upazila, suspecting his involvement in arson attack on two temples on Wednesday night.
Earlier, law enforcers arrested three BNP activists – Mintu, Isahaq and Halim on the same charges.
Just after the 10th parliamentary poll, attacks on the minority people have taken place in the villages of Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogra, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Jessore districts.

BNP: AL men attack minority and blame opposition for it

Source: The Dhaka Tribune

Condemning the attacks, the spokesperson of the party demanded exemplary punishment for the 'real' criminals

The BNP yesterday alleged Awami League activists of attacking the minorities and trying to put the blame on the opposition party, and added that it was a “usual part of Awami League’s falsehood.”
“People of Bangladesh are very much conscious. Also, people from the Hindu community blamed the Awami League for attacking the Hindus and demanded punishment of the culprits after identifying them,” Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP acting secretary general, alleged in a press release.
Fakhrul, on behalf of party Chairperson Khaleda Zia, also called upon the party leaders and activists of all tiers to stand beside the Hindu community and to extend support as per their capacity.
Condemning the attacks, the spokesperson of the party demanded exemplary punishment for the “real” criminals.
Minority communities came under attack in different places across the country following the January 5 election, forcing many to flee their houses and seek shelter elsewhere.
In most of the incidents, Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir were blamed for attacking the Hindus with the help of local BNP men.
Fakhrul alleged that the incumbent “illegal government” has pushed the country into extreme chaos and uncertainty as it was implementing a plan to eradicate the opposition from the country using law enforcers.
Fakhrul claimed that the government’s conspiracy, propaganda and ill-strategy would not be able to stop the ongoing movement.
“If Awami League does not stop misusing power and repressing the opposition leaders and activists, it has to face the same consequences faced by previous autocratic governments,” he said.

Two Hindu women raped in Jessore

Source: The Dhaka Tribune

Cases filed as masked men swooped on the community in a Monirampur village late Tuesday

  •  People of all ages in Monirampur unite, demanding life of dignity, in front of the media yesterday. They expressed the urge after two housewives were violated on Tuesday  
    Photo- Dhaka Tribune
Two rape victims from Jamaat-dominated Hazrail area in Jessore’s Monirampur filed cases with local police yesterday, two days after they had been tortured in front of family members by some masked men, allegedly activists of Jamaat-Shibir, at their Hrishipara houses.
Jessore ASP Reshma Sharmin told the Dhaka Tribune that they had received two complaints lodged by the victims themselves, who are also relatives, against unnamed people.
The incident remained beyond anyone’s knowledge until the victims filed the cases with Monirampur police station yesterday, reports our correspondent in Jessore. It took place at a time when attacks on Hindus and Awami League supporters in the area continued since the 10th parliamentary election on January 5.
On the election day, an entire Hindu locality of Malopara village in Obhoynagar upazila of the same district was driven away from their homes by the activists of Jamaat-Shibir.
Panicked as well as enraged, locals are now guarding the village at night together to resist any further attack.
Police suspect that the Jamaat-Shibir men had been behind the rapes.
Hazrail is known as one of the strongholds of opposition ally Jamaat-e-Islami in the district. During an election campaign last month, the activists of Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir torched the private car of former MP from the area Khan Tipu Sultan’s son. They even prevented Tipu Sultan from putting up posters in the area ahead of the election.
Election officials had to postpone voting in 60 polling centres in Monirampur upazila alone as the Jamaat-Shibir activists wreaked havoc in the area to foil the poll. The number is highest in a single upazila where polling was postponed across the country.
Family members of the rape victims said 10-12 masked men equipped with firearms had gone to one of the houses at Rishipara around 10pm on Tuesday and asked for drinking water. Seeing firearms with them, the dwellers thought they might be law enforcers.
Then the criminals entered the house, tied the family members and raped a woman at gunpoint until midnight.
The family members said the rapists then went to an adjacent house – both situated at a corner of the Hrishipara village – and raped another woman until 3am on Wednesday, holding the family members hostages at gunpoint.
The victims were taken to Jessore General Hospital yesterday morning for medical tests, said police.
UNB quotes Officer-in-Charge of Monirampur police station Mir Rezaul Hossain: “Those who are on the run following the ongoing drives of the joint forces are behind the incident.” 
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