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Bangladesh: Hindu priest murdered in Gopalganj, temple looted but no arrests so far

A preliminary investigation into the matter suggested that Hashilata Biswas was killed during the theft.

On Sunday (3rd March), the dead body of a female Hindu priest was discovered at the Malibata Bishwabandhu Sevashram in Gopalganj district in Dhaka Division of Bangladesh.

As per reports, the victim was identified as 70-year-old Hashilata Biswas. She had slept at the temple on Saturday (2nd March) night. When the locals visited the temple the next morning, they found the doors open.

Later, they discovered the body of Hashilata Biswas. The mouth and hands of the Hindu priest were tied by ropes.

The cupboard and the donation box of the Malibata Bishwabandhu Sevashram were found broken and looted. A preliminary investigation into the matter suggested that Hashilata Biswas was killed during the theft.

The victim had been conducting the puja at the Malibata Bishwabandhu Sevashram for the past year. Before that, her late husband Dipin Biswas was at the helm of religious affairs for 10 years.

While speaking about the matter, Sadar Police Station OC Mohammad Anichur Rahman informed, As soon as we got the news, we rushed to the crime scene. Thereafter, we recovered the dead body and sent it for autopsy.”

He further added, “The matter is being seriously investigated. Efforts are underway to identify and arrest the accused.”

The general secretary of the Malibata Bishwabandhu Sevashram in Gopalganj condemned the killing of Hashilata Biswas and said, “There have been several incidents of theft in this ashram. This time too the culprits may have entered to steal.”

Paltu Biswas, President of Gopalganj District Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad, also added, “It seems that the priest was killed after the theft in the temple. We believe that such incidents will be reduced if the culprits are given exemplary punishment.”

Attacks on Hindu community continue unabated

The minority Hindu community in Bangladesh has been living in fear ever since the federal elections in Bangladesh were conducted on 7th January this year.

As per a report by the Bangladeshi newspaper ‘The Daily Ittefaq’, the Hindus had to brave arson attacks, forcing many to flee their homes.

There have been communal attacks across Bangladesh including Faridpur, Sirajganj, Bagerhat, Jhenaidah, Pirojpur, Kushtia, Madaripur, Lalmonirhat, Daudkandi, Thakurgaon, Munshiganj and Gaibandha.

Screengrab of the news report by The Daily Ittefaq

On 7th January 2023, two Hindus named Piplu Saha and Ranjan Saha, supporters of the Awami League party, were brutally attacked by sharp weapons at the Begum Amena Sultan Govt. Girls’ High School in Daudkandi in Comilla.

On the same day, Islamists associated with the Awami League attacked the homes of Hindu supporters of independent candidate AK Azad in the Faridpur-3 constituency of Bangladesh.

According to The Daily Ittefaq, about 15 people were injured in Majhipara in the post-poll communal violence. Two Hindus namely Suresh Chowdhury and Pankaj Chand were attacked by Awami League supporters in Boalkhali Upazila in Chittagong.

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