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Dhaka Tribune

Fear still haunts Malopara Hindus at Abhoynagar

Update : 03 Jan 2015, 07:15 PM

The Bangla term “Abhoynagar” stands for “the city of fearlessness.” But it has a different meaning for the people of Malopara Hindu community of Abhoynagar in Jessore where they had fallen victims to atrocities after the January 5 elections last year.

For them, the Abhoynagar is a place of fear. 

One year after the deadly attacks, a nightmare is still haunting as the people of the area are still apprehending violence yet again.

However, the authorities concerned said the situation is under their control. There is no scope for the violence. 

The Hindus came under attack soon after the completion of general election on January 5 in different parts of the country allegedly by BNP-Jamaat activists who were resisting the election.

In the wake of mindless attacks, members of the minority community at Chapatola in Abhoynagar fled their homes. With assurance from different organisations and the government, they have begun living at the newly built houses.

The government had provided help to 62 families to construct their houses and temples. Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), a paramilitary force which is primarily responsible for the border security of the country, had helped to construct the houses and other buldings.

In an open eye, lives of the people in the area will appear very normal for an outsider. But an engaged talks with the people will reveal a different reality.   

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, many people of the area expressed their anxiety about the security of their lives and properties. 

They said they do not know what will happen to them once the government is out of power as the attackers threatened to unleash the atrocities again.

Shekhor Barman, a resident of Malopara, said: “Till today, I become frightened when the incidents of that day comes to my mind.”

Hearing the sounds of even firecrackers, the women and children of area  become frightened as they could not overcome the psychological trauma till today, he said.

“Though we are trying to lead a normal life, we can not,” said housewife Sanchita Barman.

“Most of the people who were involved in the attacks have come out on bail from the jail,” she said. 

“The attackers have repeatedly threaten us saying that how many days this government will remain in the power? When the government leaves the power, we will see you then,” she added.

Despite the government’s several assurance of taking development initiatives for the area, none of the projects have been implemented.

“The prime minister stood beside us during our tough times. On the occasion of her visit to the area, the construction of the road in area was begun in a quick manner,” said housewife Swarsati Barman.  

“As the prime minister left the area, the construction work was stopped. And it has not been completed till today,” she said.

During her visit to the area, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assured of constructing a school. But no building has been erected till today, she added.

Children of the area have to go to Chengutia school, which is around four kilometer far from the locality.

“After sending our children to the school, we have to remain in anxiety if they come under attacks,”Prohlad Barman.

“Despite our repeated demands for a permanent police outpost in the area, the number of police force from the temporary one has been reduced to 10 from 20,” he said.

Biswajit Sarkar, a resident of the area, and the secretary of Prembag union unit of ruling Awami League, the people the had fallen victim to the attacks only for being supporters of the AL.

Right after the attacks, many top leaders of AL extended their supports and provided encouragement to the people before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the area, he said.

But none of them came to the area after the prime minister’s visit, he added.

Biswajit demanded that the existing temporary police outpost be made a permanent one, and the number of the police force be increased at outpost to ensure security of the people.

Anisur Rahman, superintendent of police (SP) of Jessore, said there is no scope for violence in the area as police are much active to ensure security of the people.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is investigating the case file over  the attacks on Malopara Hindu community, he said.

Some 15 to 16 people were arrested on charge of their involvement in the attacks. The CID will submit a charge sheet against the people involved in the incident soon, he added. 

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