The Financial Express

Unacceptable hatred, deplorable attack

Arson attack in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur. (Collected picture) Arson attack in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur. (Collected picture)

They are mostly poor people. So, they are weak. That's why it is easy to exploit them economically. Again, they are the minority in terms of religion. So, they are weaker. That's why it becomes easier to make them a target of religious hatred. All these are clearly reflected in the last two weeks when a number of Hindu families and their houses came under attack in different parts of the country. It was the time of Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of the Hindus in Bangladesh. Attacks on a number of Puja venues and vandalising some temples by miscreants have turned the whole ambience ugly and shameful. All of a sudden, the country is engulfed in disharmony.

The most heinous attacks took place in three villages of Rangpur district where miscreants set at least 25 houses and shops belonging to inhabitants of the Hindu community on fire. From Khulna to Sunamganj, attacking and looting the houses and shops of Hindu people also went uninterrupted. It appears that the attacks were an outcome of a coordinated move by instigating the religious sentiments of the Muslims. A provocation like desecration of the Holy Quran by putting it into a Durga Puja pandal in Cumilla was enough to mobilise a section of Muslims to protest. And protest turned into violence which was followed by attacks on the Hindus most of whom are low-income people.

Thus the religious hatred coupled with economic vulnerability makes the thing worse. Those who lost their houses, cattle, small savings and tiny shops are now totally devastated. The miscreants successfully infused substantial fear in their victims. The latter are now the most insecure citizens in this country.  Offering them so-called compensations like reconstruction of their houses and giving some cash in no way heal the deep wound of their mind. Instead, the offer is an indirect acceptance of administrative failure to protect them from heinous and provocative attacks. 

It is difficult to comprehend why local administration and law enforcement agencies couldn't take the necessary steps to stop the attackers and bring the miscreants under control. Having been equipped with sophisticated technology and tools, it was not impossible to take some pre-emptive measures and so the vandalism could be minimised. Also, there was almost no resistance effort by those who generally become hyperactive to curb any anti-government protest or criticism no matter how moderate and logical those are.

The mob and miscreants who struck the Hindus and other religious minority people have also dishonoured the Muslim people who are the majority of the population by religion. Though the miscreants claimed themselves as the representatives of the Muslims, in reality, most of the Muslims in the country does not own them at all and widely believe in religious harmony.

As mentioned earlier, an important aspect of the attack is to make the victims economically vulnerable. Those who have backed the attack know full well that these are economically vulnerable people who will not dare raise their voices in apprehension for further retaliation. So, turning the already poverty-stricken people into destitute is a kind of negative message to others which is not acceptable. Even any group of poor people may face this kind of looting irrespective of religion on the flimsiest of excuses.


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