On February 8, a speeding van mauled 5 members of a Hindu family to death in Bangladesh in what is believed to be a ‘premeditated’ attack. The incident took place on Chakaria Upazila in Cox Bazar district in the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh.
During the accident, 5 members of the family were killed at the spot, 3 others were injured and one of them is battling with his life at the Chittagong General Hospital. According to survivor Munni Sushil, the ‘road accident’ was a pre-meditated murder. While five of her brothers were killed, two other brothers and one sister were injured in the targeted attack.
The five brothers killed in the incident are Dr Anupam Sushil (47), Nirupam Sushil (45), Dipak Sushil (40), Champak Sushil (30) and Swaran Sushil (24). They had lost their father Suresh Chandra Sushil just 10 days ago. On the day of the incident, all the seven sons and two daughters of the family had to a temple for worshipping early in the morning as a part of the last rites of Suresh. They were returning from the temple when the speeding pick-up van hit them at about 5:00 am. After hitting them, the vehicle returned to run over them. After that, the vehicle sped away towards Cox’s Bazar. Seven brothers were injured in the attack, and five of them died later at the Chattagfram Medical College hospital.
Raktim Sushil is in critical condition at the hospital, while the condition of the other brother Plaban Sushil is said to be stable. Their sister Hira Sushil has undergone surgery on her leg and is recovering at a hospital.
While recounting the tragedy that befell her family, she said, “My six brothers and one sister were about two arms’ length away from the road on the day of the accident. My other brother and I were on the street. Instead of hitting us, the pickup van targeted and crushed my brothers. The vehicle then came back and crushed my injured sister after killing my brothers.”
She said, “We could not eat in the last four days. I can’t bear to look at the little children of my dead brothers. The whole family is living in inhumane situation.” Munni further added, “It’s a premeditated murder…If not, why did the vehicle crush my brothers who were away from the road instead of killing the two of us who were standing on the road?”
Explaining why they believe it was a planned mass murder, Munni Sushil said that a frenzied mob of 40-50 people had attacked her family on January 29, 2022 also. She said that the mob had threatened their father, and he died a day later of a heart attack on January 30.
Narrating the reason for this attack, Munni said that her father had been organising Durga Puja in the area with her family. And in the month of January, her brother Deepak Sushil, who was living abroad, had brought about 4,000 bricks and gravel to build a small temple in Hasinapara area, which angered the Islamists.
The village is home to 30-35 Hindu families. After the temple construction began, Munni’s father began receiving threats. The mother of the deceased siblings, Mrinalini Sushil, lamented, “Whom will I go to with my grandchildren from the five sons? Champak’s daughter will be only one month old next Monday. My children have never harmed anyone. Why were my five children killed in this way?”
Mrinalini said that she hid 2 of her children under the bed during the January 29 attack. “They attacked us because we wanted to build a temple…We could not recognise the attackers,” she narrated.
The last rites of all the five brothers were conducted on Friday, participated by their wives.
After the incident, a case was registered by Plaban Chandra Sushil, the surviving brother, at the Chakaria police station. The Highway police have already recovered the pickup van used in the murder on the same day, but the driver of the vehicle was absconding, who was identified as Sahidul Islam alias Saiful.
Sahidul was arrested on Friday night from the Mohammadpur area in Dhaka. According to reports, Sahidul has accepted that he was driving the vehicle at that time, but denied kitting the Sushil family willingly. He said that visibility was low due to fog at that time, and as he was driving at high speed, he could not control the vehicle. Explaining the reason behind returning to hit them again, he said that he had returned to see the condition of the victims, but the owner of the vehicle, who was present in the van, ordered him to not stop and speed away.
The owner of the vehicle Mahmudul Karim is absconding after the incident.
However, minority groups are refusing to accept the explanation given by the driver. Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council’s Cox’s Bazar president Dipankar Baruah and secretary Priyatosh Sharma said that this is a preplanned murder.
Islamists attack Hindus, Durga Puja pandals under the garb of blasphemy
In the wee hours of October 13, 201, radical Islamists reportedly entered the Nanuar Dighir Par Durga Mandir in Cumilla district and placed a copy of the Quran on the feet of the idol of Lord Hanuman.
According to Shibu Prasad Dutta, the general secretary of Cumilla Mahanagar Puja Udjapon Committee, someone carried out the mischief in the morning when the guard was asleep. “The miscreants took some pictures of this and ran away. Within a few hours, using Facebook, the propaganda spread like wildfire with the provocative pictures,” confirmed a district official.
The foundation for orchestrating a Hindu pogrom was perfectly laid – The insult of the ‘Holy Book’, the punishment for which is death. Dipan Mitra, the Secretary-General of World Hindu federation (Bangladesh Chapter), stated, “Then they raised an issue of insulting Islam and gathered a mob and started attacked Hindu Temples in Cumilla town. After that, the attack on temples and Hindus was spread all over the country…”
He further added, “They Vandalized more than 315 Temples and its Idols and looted all valuable things in more than 30 districts of Bangladesh during 13 – 16 October 2021. They attacked and vandalized nearly 1500 Hindu houses in Cumilla, Chandpur, Noakhali, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Feni, Chapai Nawabgonj and other districts.”
Mitra recounted the names of the 10 Hindus who were slaughtered by radical Islamists under the garb of blasphemy. They included Manik Saha, Jatan Saha, Prashanta Das, Priest Nimai Krishna, 4 unnamed Hindu priests and 1 more unidentified victim. Besides, 23 Hindu women and girls were raped and 17 Hindus remain missing.
Mitra concluded, “Now is the time to clarify the position of the government – do they want Bangladesh to be a secular prosperous Bangladesh or do they want to take it back to the ideology of previous Pakistan”. He also mentioned that the lack of justice is giving birth to new crimes in this country.