Bangladesh to form tribunals to probe attacks on Hindus
Dhaka: In the wake of widespread attacks on Hindus in the country, Bangladesh today decided to set up special tribunals under an anti-terror law to punish the perpetrators of violence aimed at the minority community.
"A process has been initiated to constitute tribunals to try them (culprits) under the Terrorism Prevention Act," Shafique Ahmed, prime minister`s law affairs adviser said.
The Law Ministry took the initiative to constitute the tribunals in consultation with the Supreme Court. Home Secretary C Q Moshtaque said several dozens of suspects behind the attacks carried out since the January 5 polls had been detained.
Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh troops were kept in place despite the end of their poll duties to prevent fresh attacks, he said.
"You have seen, we have withdrawn several deputy commissioners (district administrative heads) and police superintendents for their failure to tackle attackers," Moshtaque said.
Government-sponsored social committees were revived to protect religious minorities and district administrations were asked to reach out to the Hindus to give them moral support even in places where no violence was reported, he said.
Suspected opposition activists attacked Hindus at several places during and after the polls, accusing the minority community of backing the Awami League which swept the election following a boycott by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council reported that government actions and social protection initiatives worked well in the most troubled western Jessore district and several northwestern districts like Dinajpur. But it said it had received reports of fresh attacks from Chittagong and Nagerhat.
"They torched two temples at Nagerhat and vandalised three Hindu homes at Fatikchhari last night," Unity Council leader Kajol Debnath said.
The Council issued a charter of seven demands, asking the government to try killers in fast track courts, to rebuild damaged temples and homes and to compensate Hindus for their losses due to the violence.
The mass circulation Prothom Alo reported that one Hindu died in panic of a heart attack after some persons torched hay in his backyard in Joypurhat yesterday.
The report said a section of people were trying to settle personal disputes with Hindus or extort the minority community by taking advantage of the situation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier promised stern action against attackers. A number of professional and rights groups and youth organisations yesterday staged demonstrations and formed human chains to protest attacks on Hindus.
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