Minority Hindus Attacked in Bangladesh During Election, Hasina Accused of ‘Murdering Democracy’

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | January 8, 2014 10:59 AM EST

People gather in front of a vandalized and burnt house after Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami activists attacked a Hindu village in Jessore in this picture provided by Prothom Alo January 6, 2014.
People gather in front of a vandalized and burnt house after Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami activists attacked a Hindu village in Jessore in this picture provided by Prothom Alo January 6, 2014.

Seven activists from Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party were arrested for attacking the Hindu community in Bangladesh, which happens to be a minority community in the country. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised strong action against the culprits.

While a couple of Jamaat activists were already arrested on Monday, five more from BNP were arrested the next day. All of them are accused of attacking Hindus in Dinajpur and Jessore, the Times of India reported. A Dinajpur police officer said that the activists from opposition parties got arrested after they had been reported by the victims to be responsible for the assault.

The opposition demanded a boycott of the general elections on Sunday, Jan 5, 2014. However, the elections were conducted anyway and the Awami League Party led by Ms Hasina secured a convincing victory in the elections which turned out to be a one-party activity since the opposition did not take part in it. The attack on the Hindus is believed to be an aftermath of the election results.

Some activists, suspected to have belonged to the opposition parties, vandalised 130 Hindu houses in Jessore on Sunday when the election was taking place. They allegedly burned 10 more houses down in Malopara village. The Malopara Hindus were threatened by about 80 activists that they would have to face the ugly music if they cast their vote. The army had to intervene to take control of the situation. Media reports confirm that Hindus in Thakurgaon, Gaibandha and Lalmonirhat were also attacked.

Khaleda Zia, the opposition leader of Bangladesh, earlier accused Ms Hasina of refusing democratic rights to the people of Bangladesh. Ms Hasina was blamed for "murdering democracy." There has been international pressure led by the United States on Ms Hasina to have a re-election with the participation of all the parties. Ms Zia, who has been on a house-arrest for the last couple of weeks, has called the election on Sunday a "farce".

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(Photo: REUTERS / )
People gather in front of a vandalized and burnt house after Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami activists attacked a Hindu village in Jessore in this picture provided by Prothom Alo January 6, 2014.
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