On 27th April a mob attacked several homes and a temple at Baghsitarampur, a Hindu majority village, in Comilla District. The attack occurred after allegations of two young people from the Hindu community posting blasphemous comments on Facebook. Nearly 35 households were looted and police forces arrived after the perpetrators had fled the scene.
GHRD's partners visited the village on 30 April 2014 and talked to the victims, as well as local law enforcement officials. According to the report shared with GHRD, the attacks were pre-planned. The perpetrators distributed leaflets and made announcements over loudspeakers in order to mobilize the attackers. One day after the attack 17 people were arrested, although the suspected mastermind of the attack is still at large.
In Bangladesh, a sizable amount of communal attacks against minorities follow the same premeditated pattern. Communal attacks against minorities have been on the rise in Bangladesh over the past 2 years. In most instances they are premeditated and motivated by various reasons, ranging from exploitation of religious sentiments to land grabbing. The state authorities are responsible for preventing such attacks and restoring a safe environment for religious minorities in the country. GHRD has been raising the issue of communal atrocities against minorities with international institutions, media and the public. Civil society and human rights defenders in Bangladesh are also stating their concerns and frustration for the failure of the government to adopt appropriate preventive measures.
In an attempt to support the victims in their search for justice, our partners BDMW and BCHRD submitted a writ petition before High Court on May 12. Following the writ petition, the High Court ordered the government to provide protection to Hindu minorities and their households in Comilla. GHRD is monitoring the situation closely and supporting the local human rights defenders in their struggle to promote and protect the rights of minorities in Bangladesh.