• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:15 am

Hundreds take to Shahbagh in protest over attacks on Hindus

  • Published at 12:20 pm October 18th, 2021

Traffic movement resumes after blockade is lifted around 2:15pm

Students and teachers of Dhaka University and other institutions blocked the Shahbagh intersection in the capital on Monday to protest against the ongoing attacks on Hindu temples and Durga Puja venues in different parts of the country.

Around 10:30am, hundreds of DU students gathered at Shahbagh intersection while some other protesters under the banner of Swamibag Ashram ISKCON held a rally at the Jatiya Press Club earlier in the day and marched towards Shahbagh.

The DU students earlier gathered at the TSC from Jagannath Hall and other dormitories.

Traffic movement came to a standstill due to the demonstration as the roads to Paltan, Science Laboratory, Bangla Motor, and the TSC were blocked by the agitators.

They called off the protests around 2:15pm after issuing their seven-point demands that include ensuring the highest punishment for the perpetrators, compensation for the victims, repairing the damaged temples, and forming a minority protection commission.

They also demanded 15% allocation in the national budget for the religious minorities and turning the Hindu Welfare Trust into a foundation.

A memorandum was also sent to the Prime Minister’s Office demanding quick and effective actions by the government.

Addressing the protesters at Shahbagh, Jagannath Hall Provost Mihir Lal Saha said: "The spirit of independence of our country is not being upheld anymore."

He sought the prime minister’s intervention to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Joyjit Datta, organizing secretary of Jagannath Hall unit Chhatra League, issued an ultimatum to home minister from the protest.

Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneHe said: “I hoped that an assurance would come from the higher-ups about our seven-point demand. But we did not get such.”

“ISKCON placed a memorandum to the prime minister and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has assured them. We are hopeful of getting justice,” he added.

In Manikganj, the Bangladesh National Hindu Grand Alliance’s demonstrated to protest the recent attacks on Hindu lives, homes, establishments and temples across the country by fanatical and extremist groups.

The human chain program was organized on Monday morning at the Manikganj Press Club premises.

The speakers said that out to destroy the country's communal bond, a class of fanatical extremists are using religious sentiments of the common people to attack, torture and persecute the Hindu community.

Criminals are repeatedly getting away with committing such crimes, depriving the victims of any justice due to the government’s negligence and corrupt officials in the administration, they added.

In Tangail, a human chain and protest rallies were held to protest the attack on Hindus.

Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka TribuneOn Monday afternoon, a program was held at Mawlana Bhashani University of Science and Technology on the initiative of “Progressive Teachers' Society inspired by Bengali nationalism, spirit of Liberation War and Bangabandhu's ideology”.

In Chittagong, a teacher of Chittagong University has protested against the communal attacks in different parts of the country by wearing a black cloth on eye on Monday morning.

Geography and Environmental Studies Assistant Prof Dr Mohammad Atiqur Rahman protested in front of the Joy Bangla sculpture of the university.

He said, the situation that has arisen in Bangladesh in the last few days is not a part of its culture. “Such activities hurt us all.”

“I strongly condemn and protest against the attacks on the lives, homes, and places of worship of the Hindu community across the country over the past few days,’” he said..

Background

Communal tensions have gripped Bangladesh over the past few days following allegations of the Quran being dishonoured at a Puja pavilion on October 13 triggering violence in several districts across the country.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the attacks and the spreading of communal hatred on social media during the largest festival of Hindus. Security was ramped up at houses of worship, and Border Guard Bangladesh troops were dispatched to more than two dozen districts. The 10-day festival came to a close on Friday with the immersion of Durga idols.

At least four people were killed in police shootings during the attack on Puja locations in Chandpur's Hajiganj on October 13 and in Noakhali's Choumuhani, attacks on Hindu temples left two people dead on October 15.

The government and law enforcement agencies have described the incidents as “planned” in a bid to destabilize the country.

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