Bangladesh court orders judicial probe into attacks on Hindus

Bangladesh court orders judicial probe into attacks on Hindus

Catholic Church has welcomed the directive and called for a speedy trial

40 years

Stephan Uttom, Dhaka

Published: October 29, 2021 10:00 AM GMT
Bangladesh court orders judicial probe into attacks on Hindus
Activists protest the recent violence against the Hindu community in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Oct. 19. (Photo: AFP)

A high court bench in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka has ordered a judicial inquiry into the recent attacks on Hindus, their homes and places of worship, asking for a report in two months.

The Catholic Church has welcomed the Oct. 28 directive and called for a speedy trial.

The attacks on Hindus took place in six districts on Oct. 13-17 and writ petitions were filed by lawyers Anup Kumar Saha and Mintu Chandra Das on Oct. 28 seeking directions to ensure the safety of the Hindu community, rehabilitation and compensation for the victims, besides bringing to justice officials who failed to provide security.

The petitioners also sought court instructions to remove all social media posts and videos that disrupt communal harmony.

“The culprits are not being caught despite clear instructions from the prime minister. In this situation I cannot believe in any investigation other than a judicial investigation,” Rana Dasgupta, secretary-general of Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council and a Supreme Court lawyer, told UCA News.

He further said that “we don’t want an innocent person to be punished, just as we don’t want a guilty person to be set free.”

Another Supreme Court lawyer, Father Albert Rozario, welcomed the high court directive.

“The situation in Bangladesh has become such that no one has faith in the government or its investigating agencies like the police. People still trust the judiciary even though it is also under the control of the government,” he told UCA News.

Father Rozario, who is also a member of the Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, further said that when minorities are attacked there are efforts at local level to stall the process of justice as religion also influences voting.

Beginning with the vandalism of a Durga puja venue in Comilla on Oct. 13 following allegations of a deliberate insult to the Quran by Hindus, Bangladesh has witnessed a spate of violent incidents.

Muslim mobs burned down 30 Hindu houses and vandalized another 50 in Majhipara village in northern Bangladesh’s Rangpur district on Oct. 17. At least six Hindus were killed and 70 puja venues were attacked, looted and set on fire in the final three days of the Durga Puja festival from Oct. 13-15.

Police in Bangladesh say more than 20,000 anonymous people have been charged with assault and violence in 32 districts of the country during the Hindu festival.

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