Police have refused to file a case against the vandals
A Hindu family is living in fear and uncertainty after being repeatedly attacked by influential locals over a land dispute in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka.
With the traumatized family at breaking point and the local police seemingly unwilling to intervene, they are now thinking of leaving the country.
“Over the past two months, they [influential locals] have vandalized our houses and injured our family members three times, and have threatened to kill us if we do not leave the house,” victim Haridas Banik told the Dhaka Tribune.
“We have failed to file a case over these incidents despite repeated attempts. We have submitted letters to the Home Ministry, Indian High Commission and Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, seeking justice, but are yet to receive any response.
“Experiencing the indifference of the authorities and state, we are feeling hopeless. If the situation remains unchanged, we have no other option than to leave the country.”
Sources said the crisis in Notun Bondor village in Shimulia union began following the lease of a 13-decimal parcel of government land that was obtained by Haridas.
Haridas’s son, Vanjan Banik, said: “With the aim of grabbing the land, a local named Mohiuddin – along with his accomplices – vandalized our house and took away a water pump from the land in August.
“They also assaulted my mother, brother, and his wife while they tried to prevent them [from vandalizing the property].”
Vanjan said officers from the local police station had refused to file a case against the attackers.
“Policemen have arrived and asked the attackers not to come again onto our land, but they have not taken our case,” he said.
Ashulia police station’s Officer-in-Charge (OC) Rezaul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune that he was “not informed” about the case. “(But) if it seems unworthy to file a case, we do not do it,” he said.
Mohiuddin denied all allegations against him and claimed he had bought the land with the help of Haridas.
“But now Haridas has turned around,” Mohiuddin said. “I have all documents in support of my claim. I did not attack Haridas’s family. His sons are involved in drug-peddling and they attacked me on my land at night.”
Local ward member Tareque Hilary said the dispute is “complicated”, and they had failed to solve the problem locally despite several attempts.
“Both parties have filed cases against each other following the land dispute,” Tareque said.
“They often attack each other over the matter. For instance, Haridas had filed a case over the vandalizing of idols, which was later proven false. Similarly, Haridas’S sons are not involved in the drug-dealing that Mohiuddin claims.”
Vanjan contested Tareque’s claim. “We have never filed a case over the vandalizing of idols,” he said.