The shameful attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues in several parts of the country including Cumilla, Chandpur, Gazipur and Bandarban have once again exposed how vulnerable the rights and even lives of minorities are in Bangladesh. The attacks and vandalism, on the pretext of alleged desecration of the Holy Qur’an at a Durga Puja venue in Cumilla, have not only shocked the Hindu community but also the nation as a whole, because we as a nation used to take pride in maintaining interfaith harmony. Sadly, an irreparable damage has been done to our values, social harmony and communal brotherhood.
It is, however, reassuring that the government has shown strong determination to neutralize the mischief makers. Additional forces of police and BGB have already been deployed and scores of suspected attackers were arrested. Here Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s warning of sparing none for resorting to communal violence is noteworthy.
Earlier we have seen that mischief-makers who spread such rumours to instigate communal violence have other agendas such as occupying land of the minorities or putting the government in trouble. Earlier in Ramu, Nasirnagar, Habiganj and other places we have seen how vested quarters instigated communal riots only to satisfy their petty interests. And the way they misuse social media sites to fan violence is alarming. It is also an irony that sentiment sensitive masses learned no lessons from those previous incidents.
The government has to ensure that those who attacked the temples and those who instigated the incident are punished under the rule of law. And immediate measures must be taken to repair the affected temples and alleviate the fear of Hindu communities. All political parties and citizens must take a stand against the evil communal forces.