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Bangladesh: Hindu families forced to sell their houses in Shailkupa, ‘land jihad’ carried out by Islamists through threats, assaults and temple vandalism

According to Kalbela News, the residence of a deceased Hindu man named Satyendranath Saha was encroached and a 4-storeyed building was constructed in its place.

Ahead of the upcoming elections in Bangladesh, the Hindu community is facing the wrath of political violence. Several Hindu families have been forced to vacate their houses in Shailkupa upazila in the Khulna division of Bangladesh and sell them at giveaway prices to avoid religious persecution.

As per a report by Kalbela News, the minority community is facing threats from Islamists and hence many Hindu families are migrating to other parts of the country. For instance, the residence of a deceased Hindu man named Satyendranath Saha was encroached and a 4-storeyed building was constructed in its place.

‘Jubo League’ Chairman (Shailkupa upazila) Shamim Hossain Mollah and his father Sabdar Hossain Mollah were accused of infringing upon the property of the Hindu family. It must be mentioned that the ‘Jubo League is the youth wing of the ruling Sheikh Hasina-led-Bangladesh Awami League party.

While speaking about the matter, the daughter-in-law of Satyendranath Saha informed that the ‘Jubo League’ leader had taken their house and a Kali Mandir by force. Despite complaints to the local MP Mohammed Abdul Hyee, no action has been taken against the accused.

Interestingly, Hyee is also a leader of the Bangladesh Awami League party from the Jhenaidah constituency. According to Kalbela News, the case of Satyendranath Saha is one of the countless stories of minority Hindu families who have lost their property to encroachment by local influential Muslim leaders.

Everyone involved in this organised form of ‘land jihad’ are politicians and political workers. In order to intimidate the Hindu residents of Shailkupa into selling their homes, the Islamists have resorted to threats, assault and even vandalism of Hindu temples.

Idol vandalism, and temple desecration as intimidation

On Monday (6th November), a case of temple desecration and idol vandalism came to light in the Bijulia village of Shailkupa upazila. After learning about the incident, the local Hindus alerted the police. A similar case of idol vandalism took place in October 2022.

Islamists orchestrated it under the supervision of a Chhatra League (student wing of Bangladesh Awami League) leader.

“Last year, they broke the idol of Goddess Kali and discarded the head of the deity. There is an upcoming election in the country. I hope such incidents are not repeated this time…I hope we can live in peace,” a local Hindu woman said.

Hindus seek action from Bangladesh Awami League

In April this year, the Puja Committee in Shailkupa urged the Bangladesh Awami League to not give an election ticket to Mohammed Abdul Hyee for his inaction over atrocities committed against the Hindu community.

Local Hindu leaders have requested Sheikh Hasina to not give election tickets to party members who have a history of shielding those involved in temple desecration, destruction of homes and idol vandalism.

According to Kalbela News, the Hindus in the Shailkupa upazila have been facing threats of eviction from powerful Islamists for the past one and a half decades.

Hindus attacked in Comilla during protest march 

A protest march organised by the Hindu community came under attack in the Nazrul Avenue area in ​​the Comilla metropolis of Bangladesh. The incident took place on Friday (13th October) at 11 a.m.

In a video posted on YouTube by Global Television, members of the Hindu community could be seen running for cover. As per reports, a total of 5 people, including one woman, were injured during the attack.

One of them also sustained severe injuries to his head. Three of the victims were identified as Aditya Das, Sunil Das and Tanmoy Das.

The said demonstration was led by the Bangladesh Youth Unity Council, Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (HBCUC), Student Unity Council and Women Unity Council against the disturbing remarks made by an Awami League MP (Comilla-6 constituency) named Bahauddin Bahar about Durga Puja.

According to Rana Das Gupta, the General Secretary of the Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, Bahauddin had demonised the annual Hindu Bengali festival as ‘Madjukto Puja‘ (festival of alcohol) on 4th October this year.

The Awami League MP also claimed that if alcohol consumption was decreased, then, the number of Puja pandals would go down. On Thursday (12th October), he yet again associated ‘Durga Puja with alcohol’.

Hindu protest attacked in Comilla, image via Kaler Kontho

On 28th September, Munshiganj district Mayor Faisal Biplab referred to Hindu MP, Mrinal Kanti Das, as ‘malaun’ (a derogatory term for Hindus), ‘nopungshak’ (impotent) and ‘chandal’ (a derogatory term for Dalits).

Miffed by the vicious targeting of the Hindu festivals, the members of the community took out a protest march and demanded action against the Awami League MP. However, the demonstration reportedly came under attack from Islamists belonging to the ‘Chhatra League’ and ‘Jubo League’.

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OpIndia Staff
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