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Hasina slams attacks on Hindus in poll-related violence

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 23:10

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday condemned attacks on Bangladesh`s minority Hindu community in post-poll violence and promised stern action against the perpetrators.

"Everyone responsible for the attacks on the minority community will face stern punishment. I have never compromised with terrorism," Hasina told a meeting of her victorious Awami League-led alliance that swept Sunday`s general election after a boycott by opposition parties.

She said the paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh, anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion and police have launched a massive campaign to track down those responsible for attacks in the western and northwestern areas.
Hasina accused main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally, fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, of intimidating Hindus on the grounds that they are perceived as traditional supporters of her Awami League.

"The attack on the minority community indicates that the character of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami remains unchanged," she said.

Her comments came amid fresh reports of intimidation of Hindus in northwestern Panchagarh, where miscreants vandalised some shops owned by Hindus and torched a house.
The worst attacks were reported from western Jessore on election day, when suspected opposition activists vandalised 130 Hindu homes and torched another 10 in Malopara village as the minority community went to cast votes in defiance of the boycott called by the opposition.

Police said 70 to 80 men attacked Malopara but security forces immediately rushed to the scene. The activists threatened Hindus with dire consequences for voting, sparking panic and prompting the army`s intervention.

Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council member Kajal Debnath said in northwestern Dinajpur that 153 Hindu families had their shops and homes vandalised.

According to media reports, Hindus were also attacked in Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Thakurgaon in the same region.

"We demand army action to protect our community in troubled areas alongside the other law enforcement agencies, but interventions of all political parties and intellectuals is the most crucial necessity at the moment for their protection," Debnath said.

First Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 23:10
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