Attacks on minority Hindus in Bangladesh need to stop, says UN

The statement was prompted by a nearly week-long wave of violence against the Hindu community

Stuti Mishra
Tuesday 19 October 2021 14:43
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<p>Police clash with Muslim devotees during a protest  over an alleged insult to Islam, outside the country’ main Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka</p>

Police clash with Muslim devotees during a protest over an alleged insult to Islam, outside the country’ main Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka

The United Nations has called on Bangladesh’s government to ensure the protection of the country’s Hindu minority as a wave of violence against the community continues to rock the country.

UN’s resident coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo asked the government for an impartial probe into the attacks in a Twitter post on Monday.

“Recent attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, fuelled by hate speech on social media, are against the values of the Constitution and need to stop,” Ms Seppo said. “We call upon the government to ensure protection of minorities and an impartial probe. We call upon all to join hands to strengthen inclusive tolerant Bangladesh.”

There have been repeated attacks on Bangladesh’s Hindu residents in recent days drawing international attention. The violence began after an alleged incident of blasphemy at a Hindu religious gathering in the town of Cumilla, about 100km from Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka.

A widely circulated social media photo showed a copy of the Islamic religious book Quran allegedly kept at the feet of a Hindu deity at a religious gathering on the occasion of Durga puja (worship of goddess Durga) in Cumilla.

This led to attacks on Hindu temples and other religious gatherings during the nine-day-long Navratri festivities in several cities, triggering riots.

Local newspapers reported that six Hindus were killed in separate attacks. Several protests were also held to condemn the alleged incident of blasphemy.

Bangladeshi police said on Tuesday that a total of 450 people have been arrested so far in connection to these attacks.

Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Haseena vowed to punish the culprits and warned against any escalation of violence. However, in the latest incident of attacks on Sunday, 26 homes of Hindus were torched in a northern village.

An official said the attackers burnt the houses late at night after pillaging. Later, 42 people were identified and arrested for the incident.

Bangladesh is a Muslim majority nation but has a secular constitution with around nine per cent of the population identifying as Hindus.

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