Last week Bangladesh witnessed communal violence which claimed 7 lives including two Hindu men. The tension escalated in Bangladesh on Wednesday after a video circulated on social media showed Islamic scripture Quran being placed under the knee of a Hindu god during the Durga Puja festival.
The video provoked outrage in a Muslim majority country and the violent protest swept over. As per the report by Al Jazeera more than 100 people were injured. Angry mobs attacked Houses of Hindus and Temples. On Sunday night around 20 houses belonging to Hindus were torched in Rangpur city’s Pirganj neighborhood.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised strict action, and her government has unequivocally condemned the incidents. The country’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement Tuesday: “It’s regrettable that the local elements that had opposed Bangladesh’s independence 50 years ago are still propagating their toxic narratives to instigate violence, hatred and bigotry,” reported The Print
Police have so far arrested 450 people and filed 71 cases in relation to the deadly violence.
International rights group Amnesty International has called on the authorities to take urgent steps to protect the members of the minority community against such attacks and ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims.
The attacks on minority Hindus in Bangladesh are against the values enshrined in its Constitution and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government needs to ensure an impartial inquiry into the incidents, the United Nations said on Monday.
Hindus make up less than 9% of Bangladesh’s total population of over 170 million, with 90% of the population Muslim.
As per the Bangladeshi government data, in the past four decades, the percentage of the Hindu population of Bangladesh has declined from 13.5% to 8.5%,
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a Bangladeshi human rights organization that documents attacks on minority communities, estimates over 3,600 attacks targeting Hindus have taken place in Bangladesh since 2013.
According to ASK, the attacks include vandalism and arson targeting over 550 houses and 440 shops and businesses. More than 1,670 cases of vandalism and arson attacks on Hindu temples, idols and places of worship were also reported during that time.
In a letter Human right defenders in India condemn the violence and called for immediate action. The petition signed by activists like Javed Anand, Mazher Hussain, Ramakrishna Raju, Jennifer Liang and several more.
We are deeply distressed and saddened by the violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashmi.
Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and brings disrepute to the government.
Even as we were feeling some relief at the Government of Bangladesh reigning in fanatic groups and controlling communalism in the country, the current outbreak of mayhem and violence against the minorities comes as a big shock, and seems a setback to the government in its efforts to curb communalism and promote communal amity and peaceful coexistence.
In the time of social media, it is easy to identify, try and punish all those who are involved in the recent violence and give exemplary punishment to deter others and ensure such obnoxious incidences are not repeated again. We also urge the Government of Bangladesh to immediately reconstruct and repair all places of worship, houses and any other assets that are damaged and provide generous compensation to the injured and to families of all those killed and government jobs to their next of kin.
Recurring instances of communal and sectarian violence in different countries across the world show that divisive and fanatic elements are constantly engaged in spreading hate that could ultimately harm humanity as a whole. Hence members of all societies and the governments must have a constant vigil against them to prevent violence and ensure peace that alone can provide prosperity for all.
Aasha Ramesh- Activist- Karnataka
Christopher Fonseca, AITUC, Goa
Gagan Sethi- Jan Vikas Gujarat.
Javed Anand, Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy
Jennifer Liang, the ant, Assam
L.S. Hardenia-All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation
Mazher Hussain- COVA Peace Network- Telangana
O. P. Shah- Center for Peace and Progress, West Bengal
Panchaksharam- Activist- Tamil Nadu
P.V. Rajagopal- Sarvodaya Samaj, Madhya Pradesh
Rajesh Tandon- PRIA- New Delhi
Ram Puniyani- All Indi Secular Forum, Maharashtra
Ramakrishna Raju- NAPM- Andhra Pradesh
Ramesh Yadav, Folklore Research Academy, Punjab
Sandeep Panday- Asha Ashram- Uttar Pradesh
Anwarul Hoda – Citizens Together