Awami League (AL) General Secretary Obaidul Quader has reminded the Hindu community of the communal violence they faced after the BNP’s electoral victory in 2001 and warned that it may recur if they returned to power.
Quader made the statement while inaugurating a Janmashtami programme in Dhaka on Saturday, a few months ahead of the coming Eleventh Parliamentary Election.
“Do you remember 2001?” he said. “Under the BNP’s rule communal forces came to power and brought down horror and darkness. “
Those who practised the Hindu religion were attacked and victimised, he said.
“Do you remember how many Hindu women were horrendously raped by these barbaric forces? How they persecuted innocent people and set fire to their homes?”
“Do you remember that violence? If those factions return to power, they will usher in an even darker and bloodier time.”
The Hindu community had faced persecution across the country after the BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power in 2001.
Many leaders of the BNP-Jamaat alliance had been named as the perpetrators of this violence, according to bdnews24.com.
Quader said he was worried that the Hindu community might be targeted ahead of this year’s elections.
“Stay alert. This faction is afraid of losing the election and so they may attack you in an effort to foil it. They may believe that you are weak and attempt to take advantage of it. They may plot to ruin the good relationship Bangladesh currently has with India.”
The road transport and bridges minister also called on the Hindu community to support the Awami League in the upcoming election.
“You must remember that Sheikh Hasina’s government is the only one that is a friend to minority groups. Sheikh Hasina is your friend and your ally.”
“If you believe this then you know that Awami League must beat this faction in the coming national parliamentary polls. You must gird yourselves and help Sheikh Hasina and her leadership triumph over this faction and help ensure your rights and your dignity.”
The BNP was stoking ‘communal divisions’ in the name of a national alliance, Quader said.
Quader dismissed a question regarding the possibility that the election may be cancelled.
“Only those who have failed to keep up are making such statements … it will not work, the people will oppose those who stand against the votes.