Ethnic, religious minorities worried over violence

Countrywide protests on May 25

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:32, May 20,2019 | Updated: 01:56, May 20,2019

 
 

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council holds a news conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Sunday in protest of violence against the religious minorities. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council leaders have expressed worries that ethnic and religious minorities continued to be subjected to widespread violence in the country despite repeated government pledges to contain the malaise.
They said on Sunday that in the first four months of this year as many as 250 incidents of violence were reported against minorities.
They feared that the number of victims of violence this year might exceed the last year’s if the government continued to fail to protect them.
They said they would hold a countrywide demonstration on May 25 to protest against the violence.
‘The government had promised zero tolerance against communal violence but has failed to live up to the pledge,’ said Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the council, while reading out a written statement at a press conference at the National Press Club.
At least 23 people were killed between January and April, he resented.
He said that though the causes of the deaths of six minority people who were found dead could not be determined yet but it was suspected that they were victims of violence.
At least 10 other people were reported to have survived attempts on their life during the same time while 17 people received death threats and 188 other were physically tortured, he went on.
Rana mentioned that the year 2018 witnessed 806 incidents of violence against ethnic and religious minorities, murder of at least 90 people and rape of 32 children and women among them.
There were also 39 abductions and 18 disappearances in 2018, he said. This year 12 women and children were raped so far, he added.
At least 29 temples came under attack while 62 incidents of eviction were reported, and houses and businesses were looted in 31 other incidents, he said.
Rana called upon the government to protect the ethnic and religious minorities in the country before it was too late.
Council vice-president Nirmal Rosario, presidium members Kajal Debnath, Basudeb Dhar, Milon Dutta, Jayanti Roy and Bangladesh Buddhist Federation general secretary Bhikkhu Sunandapriya were present at the press conference.

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