Communal attacks: 45 killed in 1,045 incidents in a year

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council published a report on repression of minorities in a press briefing on MondayProthom Alo

A total of 45 people from religious and ethnic minorities were killed in 1,045 incidents of communal violence and repression, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council said in a report.

The organisation’s general secretary Rana Dasgupta revealed the report at a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday.

The unity council prepared the report based on news published in the media between July, 2023 and June, 2024.

The report found a total of 45 killings in the last year. Seven bodies were recovered. Attempts were made on the lives of 10 people.

A total of 36 people received death threats while 479 received injuries due to attacks. Extortion was demanded from 11 people while houses and businesses came under attack, looting and arson in 102 incidents.

A total of 47 incidents of grabbing of land and houses took place in this one year while 45 incidents of threat to grab land and houses took place.

A total of 11 incidents of effort to forcibly evict from the country took place. 15 incidents of usurpation and effort to take over properties of temple or church were reported during the period.

14 incidents of attack, vandalism, looting and arson attack on temples took place. A total of 40 incidents of idol vandalism took place while 25 incidents of gang rape or attempted rape took place.

A total of 12 people were forcibly converted while eight were detained in false allegations of hurting religious sentiment.

The report said a total of 32 incidents of communal violence took place during the last general election while the number was five during the local government elections.

Addressing the press briefing, the council’s general secretary Rana Dasgupta said these are just ‘a partial picture’ of the incidents. The number of communal violence did not decrease much over the years. A total of 19 per cent of the population was Hindu during the election in 1970, which has decreased to 8.6 per cent. The environment to freely exercise the religious duties has shrunk so much that religious festivals are now to be observed under police protection.

The report mentioned that 70 to 75 per cent incidents of communal violence are related to land properties. Land grabbers influenced by political parties often carry out attacks against the minority people. Even the government organisations were found involved with land grabbing.
Rana Dasgupta alleged that communal and fundamentalist forces have established their influence in every sphere of state, government, administration, politics and society.

He demanded Awami League implement its electoral pledges including forming a national minority commission and enacting a law extending special protection to the minority people.

Nimchandra Bhoumik and Nirmal Rosario, presidium members Kajal Debnath and Buddhist monk Sunandapriya and communication and technology secretary Shuvra Deb Kar, among others, were present.
Council’s organising secretary Dipankar Ghosh conducted the press conference.