HIGH TREASON OF INDIRA KHAN (Mrs. "Gandhi" for the HINDU cuckoos and mules)
The day Indira Khanum, a secret convert to Islam, RETURNED East Bengal UNCONDITIONALLY to Islam in 1972, she had to do ONE of the following two things-
DECLARE PARTITIONED (her own bleeding BROKEN BHARAT) a HINDU RASHTRA to counter the strategic threats from the two ISLAMIC republics on either side of India's mutilated rump.
Create KHALISTAN in order to ensure BALANCE of power in South Asia.
With the two newly created MOHAMMEDAN rountries (due to High Treason of Pandit NEHRU and cowardice of 'mahatma' GANDHI), the Rest of India (headless Bharat) is about to sink into anarchy of civil war.
Now let us turn to EAST Bengal where Mrs. Gandhi launched her invasion NOT to help the besieged Hindu minority but to rescue the MUSLIM MAJORITY from the clutches of WEST Pakistani soldiers who were raping and plundering at will. We should note that the pleas and cries of the HINDUS from South KASHMIR have been falling on deaf ears in New Delhi since MUCH BEFORE the restoration of East Pakistan as the ISLAMIC Bangladesh in 1972.
A Festival Spoilt by Violence
By Aasha Mehreen Amin and Shamim Ahsan
Photographs By Zahedul I. Khan
(NB: WRETCHED VICTIMS HINDU, JOURNALISTS INVARIABLY MUSLIM, WHO REPORT WITH GLEE!)
Today October the 26th is the tenth and last day of the Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of Bangali Hindus. It is also the day when images of the Goddess Durga will be submerged into the water signifying the temporary abode of the deity in a tangible form. Durga Puja is also a time for Hindus to dress up and celebrate with colour and vivacity. But this time the Puja festivities are subdued and sombre, revealing the disillusionment of thousands of Hindu Bangladeshis who feel insecure and let down. From the day after the election, members of the Hindu community have been living in fear as news of terrible acts of violence dominated the daily papers. Rape, arson, robbery and forced eviction of Hindu families in some parts of the country, have left the community in shock and fear. Many have already been forced to leave their homes and take shelter in other villages or cities. Others have nowhere to go. Their crime is that they are a minority, helpless and weak and so easy target for power-hungry terrorists. In many cases they are targets also because they voted for the 'wrong' party or are perceived to have voted for the 'wrong' party. SWM focuses on the terrible ordeal of some victims and the reasons behind such reprehensible acts.
Sri Rajlakhsmi Narayan in Narayanganj where shots were fired early in the morning on October 7th.
The ride to Krishnapur from Sonargaon's Mugrapara, on a rickshaw is quite wobbly but pleasant as one passes through the lush greenery of this seemingly tranquil village with its colourful array of neat little houses. Krishnapur, like neighbouring Bottopur, is dominated by Hindu households and even before getting down we see women with red sindoor on their foreheads, hands adorned by the traditional shakha and pola, looking at us with worry. The last few weeks after the election have been full of tension and fear. On October 7th at 11 am a mob of 100 to 200 people attacked the house of Gopal Mistri, looting and destroying everything they came across. The men of the house were out at work and only the women and children were at home. "We were cooking lunch when suddenly we heard a terrible noise of hundreds of people shouting and breaking everything," says Gopal's sister-in-law. The attackers came with sharp knives and saws cutting through the tin walls, traces of which can still be found. They broke the glass on the windows and finally barged in through the doors, smashing the stereo system, showcase and lights. They took away the television, two mobile sets, a VCP, cosmetics and entered into the inner rooms destroying a prayer area, crockery, furniture etc. Gopal and his brothers who work as carpenters, had saved enough money to buy about 10 bhoris of gold ornaments for their sister's wedding next month. This too was stolen. Although the family has managed to repair some of the damaged property, there are till many signs of destruction. The SWM team found the living room quite battered with a smashed up TV set and stereo system and piles of broken glass.
Gopla Mistri's mother shows the spot where the attackers broke the images of Deities and kicked her aside when she begged them to stop.
The family is now shattered both psychologically and financially. "We decorated the house with our hard earned money and they just finished everything", says Gopal with tears in his eyes. All the members of this huge household are grief stricken by the attack which local people say was carried out by BNP terrorists. Gopal's mother, around seventy, openly weeps as she relates how she begged the men not to destroy anymore. "They just kicked me on the chest and shoved me away. "We don't work for any party", says Gopal, "Our only" fault is that we voted for Awami League". Gopal and his family have not filed any case with the thana. Even though it is obvious that they know the identity of these attackers, they say they don't know in fear of further repercussions.
We don't know his whereabouts, how he is eating or where he is sleeping. We don't even know whether he is dead or alive." Tears roll down her wrinkled face as the mother talks about her youngest son Suman. Suman had fled from home following the horrible incident of October 4.
Using saws and sharp knives they cut into the tin wall which still bears marks of the attack on Gopal's house.
It was Thursday, the sun was almost in the mid-sky. Men were outside the home engaged in their works. Women were busy with their household chores. Suddenly a huge uproar invaded the calm air of Bhottopur village. About a 200-strong crowd, all of them armed with ramda, chapati, sticks, allegedly led and instigated by a local leader of Jubo Dal and Humayun Kabir Rafiq, a leader of local JCD, launched an attack around eleven in the morning. Some six houses in the village were targeted for attack-Amullah Biswas' home was one of them.
Sixty year old Amullah Biswas and his youngest son Suman were gossiping inside their house. Suddenly a neighbour came running to inform them that Gopal Mistri's house, less than half kilometre away from there, had been attacked. Suman in his mid-twenties, read the situation very well, Suman who works at a jewellery shop in Naraynaganj had come home well before the election, to campaign for the AL candidate in his area. "Suman got very frightened and whispered into my ears that he had received threats for the last couple of days" recalls his father. "We were in a dilemma as we couldn't decide whether all of us should flee leaving the house under lock and key or some of us should stay to guard the house," Biswas continues.
Shumon Shil's mother outside their home which was attacked on October fourth. Shumon is still in hiding and his mother does not know when he can come back.
"But before we could take any decision we heard the attackers coming. My son and I ran away leaving my wife, my daughter-in-law and my little grand daughter at home," says Biswas.
What followed is still visible. The two houses, walled and roofed by tins, still bear the brutal marks the attackers had imprinted with their weapons.
The entrance to Ram Kanai Jagannath where shots were fired in the early hours of the morning.
Since then Suman has fled. His parents are worried but they still don't want him to come back. 'They will kill my son (if he comes)," the mother's voice trembles with fear.
Makhan Mistri and his wife are still quite shaken up after being threatened by local thugs.
Belna in Koratia union is a picturesque village in Keraniganj where a large Hindu community lives. But these last few weeks since the elections the people of Belna live in constant fear and have still not recovered from the trauma of the most heinous attack. A few days after the elections a gang of about 30 to 40 young men attacked two houses in the area. One of the houses belonged to Surja Kumar, an influential Hindu of the village and an AL worker. Kumar had already left the village as had most of the men of the village fearing assaults by gangs of the victorious party. Thus only the womenfolk grandmothers, young housewives and teenaged girls were around to face the attackers. Late at night when many of the residents were sleeping they first knocked at the door of one of the houses. When the women refused to open saying that the men were not at home, the culprits knocked the door down and began their rampage.
When one asks the inevitable "What happened after that?" the women become silent. A young girl, sits despondently on the porch her head bowed down to hide the flow of tears. Nobody wants to reveal who the victims are although several confirmed that two of the victims had to be taken to the thana health complex after they were raped by the gang. According to the villagers, four women were sexually assaulted by the attackers who thought this was the best revenge they could take on the men they could not find.
A happy occasion for both Hindu and Muslim voters.
Although a case was filed and police arrested one of the ring leaders of the gang, he was released the very next day. Since then the villagers are afraid to talk as the gang has threatened them again. They will not reveal their names as the culprits are young men from their own area. Most of these families have young girls in the house and so are afraid for them. "How will we get my grand daughters married now?" asks an old woman.
The incident has left the Hindu villagers numb with shock and humiliation. Residents of many of the houses say that this year they will not take part in the puja ceremonies at all.
A house in Belna, Keraniganj where the attackers found a Hindu woman alone and allegedly sexually assaulted her.
The atmosphere in Ram Kanai Jagannath Akra in Narayanganj town is gloomy and subdued eventhough the Durga Puja, the biggest Hindu festival of the country, is a few days away. Dipen Chandra Ghosh one of the Hindu priests says that this year the Puja will be observed quietly as there is not much to celebrate. On October 7th in the early hours of the morning hoodlums fired shots at the temple gate. Although no one was hurt and no further incident occurred, the members of the Hindu community have been shaken by this act of hostility. Compared to some other parts of the country, Narayanganj has been fairly unscathed by atrocities on Hindus. But the reports of violence against Hindus elsewhere have marred the festivities here. Even Hindu businessmen have not donated as much as they usually do for the Puja. Local people allege that many Hindu businessmen have been forced to pay huge tolls to gangs who claim to be ruling party workers. Since the October 7th incident fewer followers come to the temple.
Surja Kumar's house was the main target for the terrorists. Kumar in an AL worker.
"We are called the minority, says Ghosh, "We are not minority we are all citizens of this land. We too helped to free this nation."
Just a five minute rickshaw ride away, is Shri Rajlakshmi Narayan Jeo, a huge temple which attracts thousands of devotees every Friday. Rajandra Prasad Jha, the Maharaja of the temple says since shots were fired at this temple too on the same day, less than 100 people come for the Friday congregation. The local BNP MP says Jha, has visited the temple, denounced the acts of vandalism and reassured the temple authorities that the Durga Puja will take place peacefully. A Chhatra Dal leader has been asked to make sure that no untoward incidents take place and even a donation from the government has been given so celebrations can take place. But for the community, insecurity still runs high. Says Shanta (not her real name) a Hindu housewife who lives near the temple: "There is no joy in this Durga Puja. This time women will not come out because there is a feeling of insecurity. Shanta, who has two teenaged daughters, says that she feels very worried for them and does not let either of them go out without her. "
"We were attacked in '71 and in '92 and now again in 2001", says a Hindu housewife of a Moddher Char home.
Even our men come home early because they are scared," she adds.
Sections of the civil society have severely condemned the acts of repression and demanded compensation and justice for the victims and immediate action to stop further violence against them. Students of Dhaka University staged a four day hunger strike which produced no government reaction. Human rights organisations such as Mahila Parishad, Ain O Shalish Kendra and Sammilito Sangskiritik Jote have held public protests and made statements deploring the oppression of minorities. The Manobadhikar Commission (Human Rights Commission) of Bangladesh has published phone numbers in various dailies so that victims can call in and lodge complaints. The Commission, which is a UN affiliated body, has offices in all districts. While complaints have been pouring in, most of the victims have not given written statements out of fear so investigating officers and lawyers of the Commission can do little. The police too have given a lukewarm response to most complaints says Saiful Islam, Secretary General of the Commission "In many cases we have informed senior officers of the thanas and they have said that they will look into the matter. But when we investigate we see that even after 24 hours of the complaint, no police has been sent." In other areas victims have said that the police did not come even after four or five days and even when specific names of perpetrators were given, they did not arrest anyone.
A Hindu house in Sonargaon which was attacked by terrorsits.
The reasons behind these repressive acts against a minority community are far more complex than they seem at first. While there is an apparent communal dimension in the violence, the main reason why Hindus have been targeted is that they are believed to be Awami League supporters and therefore AL voters. In many of the incidents BNP workers or supporters were directly involved. Thus not only Hindus but many AL activists (both Hindu and Muslim) fell prey to the violence. According to a Daily Star report, in some cases AL supporters also attacked them thinking that the local Hindus did not vote for them as was expected. But to say that all these acts were just politically motivated would be too simplistic an explanation. Political ambition in our country is strongly linked with greed for power and material wealth. Many of these terrorists associate themselves with a party so that they can freely carry on their criminal activities without fear. Victims in these incidents are being asked to pay huge tolls, failing which they are being driven out of their homes. Vandalism and rape are typical strategies to terrorise people who are helpless, who may be scared enough to leave their property and possessions for the terrorists to freely enjoy. Revenge on AL supporters and voters, greed for property coupled with bigotry against Hindus form a combination of reasons behind the atrocities.
A Hindu house in Belna, Keraniganj which was attacked, a few days after the elections.
Local BNP MPs as well as BNP ministers have all made public statements about punishing the culprits and making sure that no such incidents take place any more. At the same time the Home Minister has repeatedly stated that these incidents have been exaggerated, or even made up by the print media. This tendency to deny a tragic episode is sending out a wrong signal to the terrorists and to the general public, not to mention the Hindus. What is most disturbing is that in many areas Hindus are being pressurised to keep silent about these attacks. In fact they are being forced to make written or verbal statements saying that no oppression has taken place. The implied threat is that if they do not comply, they will face even worse consequences. There are allegations that BNP activists with law enforcing agents have gone to Hindu households and made them sign on papers saying that no repression had occurred. Even press conferences have been arranged where members of the Hindu community were made to say that no acts of violence or theft had taken place.
A household in Moddher Char, Keraniganj where the residents decided not to take part in the Puja in the wake of threats by gangsters of a political party.
The government's promise to check terrorism repeated again and again in public addresses, rings rather hollow in the wake of the systematic repression on Hindus. The Home Minister's attempts at denial and downplaying is disturbing and disrespectful to the victims who have lost not only their homes and assets but their dignity and sense of security. If the government is sincere about promoting peace and justice the first step it should take is to punish the gangsters of the ruling party who allegedly are responsible for most of these acts. Some demonstrative action is urgently called for.
Fifteen-year-old Bangladeshi Hindu girl Purnima Rani Sheel weeps after her horrific experience of being gangraped by terrorists is narrated 19 October 2001 in Dhaka during a press conference. Bangladesh's government 20 Oct 2001 repledged to ensure security of the minority Hindu community who, they say, have been "repressed" and "targetted" because they were judged to be supporters of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami League, which was battered in the 01 October 2001 general elections by the BNP with a landslide victory. AFP PHOTO
Being threatened with death, ousted from their own homes, their valuables looted, property damaged, or even worse, the honour of their womenfolk being threatened, the victims of this recent spree of violence, feel vulnerable and utterly demoralised. Will they be able to keep their homes? Will their daughters be safe? These are the agonising questions members of the minority community keep asking themselves.
Such worries are embarrassing for most Bangladeshis as we consider ourselves to be secular-minded and free from communal prejudice. A Hindu Bangladeshi is just as much a citizen of this country as any of his Muslim counterparts, and has just as much right to live a secure, free life. Ironically, in areas where there are large Hindu populations there is very little communal tension and Hindus and Muslims have lived in harmony for decades. The persecution of Hindus is therefore a new trend and artificially created by a particular brand of terrorists who are under the patronage of political parties. During the Awami League's five year government, armed goons belonging to the AL wreaked havoc establishing a reign of terror often instigated by prominent AL stalwarts. Now it is the gangs of the BNP who seem to have taken over. The difference is that this time the majority of the victims happen to be from the Hindu community.
A Puja Mandap in Nishan Bari, Keraniganj. This year the ceremonies will be a lot more subdued than usual.
The onus lies, therefore, on the government to arrest and punish the culprits whether they belong to their own party or are just plain terrorists with no party backing. An exodus of minority people due to repression would be the biggest failure for any government that projects itself as a democratic one.
Are These Reports Fabricated?
The Daily Star, 11-10-01
UNB reports from Jessore that around 50,000 people were stranded in their homes as attacks on AL leaders and workers and members of minority community continued in Keshappur upazila for 10 days.
According to local people, armed cadres of ousted BNP leader Moulana Shakhawat Hossain Bakul ransacked the houses of AL leaders, workers and Hindu families and looted their valuables in 70 villages leaving 30 people injured. With police showing no concern, the attackers continued their assault. The armed men also demanded toll from the villagers, assaulting them if they did not comply. They also set fire to a number of grocery shops in Mogalkot Bazaar and Bakabarshi village and a fish depot at Kana Pukurpar.
Hindus have been treated as they are believed to be AL supporters.
Political activists carried out planned attacks on resident minority groups in several villages of Pabna. Houses were damaged and looted and Hindu residents thrown out of their own homes. Hindus who have been living in these areas for generations were told to leave the country or face 'dire consequences'. Fearing repercussion victims did not file any complaint with the police which gave them further excuse not to do anything about the situation
In Barisal around 10 thousand people, mostly minorities of Gournanadi and Agailjhara upazila were forced to take refuge in Gopalganj as violence against minorities and AL sympathisers spread.
'Three upazilas Chatmohar, Sujanagar and Bera (in Pabna) were also under attack forcing families to abandon their homes and seek shelter in neighbouring villages. Leaders of the Hindu community alleged that at least 400 minority families in Sujanagar fled their homes following torture on them. Particularly scared are families who have young women in their houses as many of the attackers are using rape as a way of terrorizing and humiliating minority communities.
Ittefaq Ocotober 13th
A gang of 14/15 miscreants wearing masks attacked a Hindu house on October 7th in Fulhar village, Rajapur, Barisal. They wounded 75 year old Deuri, his 35 year old daughter-in-law, Kananbala, 15 year old granddaughter Kakoli by beating them mercilessly. They took valuables worth one lakh Taka. While leaving they asked to arrange another one lakh within seven days, otherwise his son Krishnakanta Deuri, an AL-activist would b killed.
Shumon Shil's shattered home in Krishnapur Violence against poor, helpless people is a common weapon used by political parties.
Prothom Alo 15.10.01
In Bagmara upazilla in Bajrukkola village terrorists attacked minority homes on Saturday October 14th ransacking houses and threatening residents. After the attack police camps were stationed near the areas but the police did nothing while hooligans continued to threaten the villagers saying "How long will the police guard you. Once they leave we will teach you a lesson", according to a witness.
On Friday night local thugs Mukul, Salam Member and Moslem lead about 300 individuals who forcefully entered homes vandalising and ransacking them. Since most of the male members of the homes were at work the women and children had to face them alone. They managed to save themselves by fleeing from back doors.
Mrinali Sarkar a housewife was cooking on Saturday morning when about a hundred miscreants attacked her home taking away Tk 5,000 in cash, jewellery and clothing.
According to a villager, one of the main ring leaders of the gangsters named Moslem, illegally possessed nine khas ponds in his name when local people filed a case it was proved that his documents were all false. Later under a government order, the ponds were leased out to nine people but Moslem and his gang continued to forcibly take the fish from these ponds. By terrorizing the minority villagers Moslem would be able to reoposess these ponds as well as grab other pieces of land.
Prothom Alo 15-10-01
On Tuesday October 16th, members of the minority com-munity formed a human chain in front of Chittagong Press Club at 4 pm protesting the indiscriminate repression on minorities especially women across the country. This was decided by the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad.
Prothom Alo 15-10-01
Police arrested Abdul Rouf a local BNP leader of Ullapara thana with charges of attacking and beating a family of the minority community there. On October 8th Abdul Rouf and his gang severely beat up Anil Chandra Shil on the road. When his wife and two daughters came to his rescue, they too were beaten up. Later the victims were admitted to a health complex. According to police Rouf had a feud with Anil over land.
A UNB report on Oct. 15th recounts the gang rape of three girls of Hindu families at Nohata village in Sreepur upazilla of Magura. On midnight Tuesday a gang allegedly led by Abu Sayed and Shamsul entered into the homes of two Pal families and abducted the girls. The gang then took them to a field and raped them. Armed, the rapists injured ten inmates of the two houses who had to be hospitalised.
Prothom Alo 15.10.01
In Charmoni Union Barisal, three female members of a Hindu family were sexually assaulted. The victims were a mother, teenaged daughter and an aunt. After the incident, the mother and aunt remained silent but the teenaged girl had the courage to go to a woman activist of Mahila Parishad to report the crime. Later her mother and aunt also took shelter at the Parishad. The police then came to the shelter and took the case. The details of the incident are as follows:
A local gang of terrorists went to the newly constructed house of the victims and demanded exorbitant tolls. When they refused the gangsters threatened them and told them to leave the country. After the incident, the father of the teenaged victim sent her elder sister away fearing an attack on her. But on Saturday October 13th, the gang of about 10-12 men came to the house knocked down the door and took away the father at gunpoint. They then started to sexually assault the man's wife and sister. Some of them dragged the daughter into the garden and gang-raped her. Being gagged, the victims could not scream for help. In the early hours of the morning, the rapists removed the gags and threatened them with weapons, saying that they would slaughter them (the victims) if they reported the incident to anyone. When they left, the family members rescued the unconscious girl from the garden.
Preparing for the Puja at Ram Kanai Jagannath Akra amidst uneasiness and insecurity.
Ittefaq October 17th
Ten Hindu families came under attack in Patharghata in Barguna. They were attacked because they hadallegedly voted for AL. Besides Monamondol of Parikata village, Gontam Mistri, Pankaj Malakar, Susanta Ripon of Raihanpur were beaten up by workers of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.
Prothom Alo 22.10.01
In Raozan and Rangunia Chittagong several Hindu houses had been burnt to the ground by arsonists leaving the families homeless. The victims fled to neighbouring villages or took refuge in neighbours' homes. On September 28 in Koyepara five Hindu houses were set on fire by miscreants. On October 18 the same thing happened to the home of UP member Ratna Ghosh. Local residents have alleged that armed cadres of a prominent BNP MP are behind these barbaric acts and the motives are political.
In other areas of Raozan the terrorists continue to intimidate, harass Hindu communities destroying property or threatening them with their lives. Families are sending their teenaged daughters or other female family members away to hide as they fear sexual assaults by the terrorists. Young men who had taken part in campaigning activities of the AL are also in hiding out of fear.
On 14th October in Shantinikatan area in Rangunia terrorists destroyed a statue of a deity which was being constructed for the upcoming Puja. Every year around 600 families come to the temple for puja. Local people alleged that this too was committed by armed cadres of the same BNP MP.
The destruction of temple statues occurred in many other places such as in Pabna and Patuakhali.
Students of Dhaka University hold a hunger strike in protest of the recent spate of violence against minorities.
On Friday October 19th, a gang of young men entered the premises of a temple in Old Dhaka and started eating beef and nan roti. After they finished they hung a big bone of a cow on the roof of the temple. Later the temple authorities complained to the thana. The OC visited the area promising to take action against the culprits. Police were deployed in the area and a GD was filed . The Hindus of the area said that this was the first time that such an act of sacrilege had been committed to humiliate the Hindu community.
The Bangladesh Observer October 21, 2001
Purnima Rani Shil, only 15 years old, is yet another victim of the violence against the members of Hindu Community. A gang of 25 to 30 men attacked the house of Anil Kumar Shil at night in East Delua village in Ullahpura thana Sirajganj on October 8. When the goons tried to take Anil's youngest daughter Purnima away her father and mother stood in their way but the miscreants then beat Anil and his wife Basana Rani mercilessly. Purnima was taken to a nearly place and gang-raped. Her unconscious body was rescued after two hours. Anil along with his family members were kept under lock and key on October 9 throughout the whole day to make sure that the incident did not get any publicity.
When the family members went to the the Ullahpura thana, the OC refused to register the rape case, instead attempted to record it as a case of past animosity regarding land dispute. Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee brought Purnima and her parents to Dhaka where Purnima herself described what happened to her and her family members at a press conference in a local hotel. She also said that she recognised some of the attackers, who she alleged, belong to BNP.
Courtesy: The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is jointly published by the Daily Star with the technical assistance provided by Onirban.