12 hurt in attack by 'Jamaat-Shibir men'
S Dilip Roy, Lalmonirhat
Hindus came under attack allegedly by activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir at Patgram upazila in Lalmonirhat for the second time in a month yesterday.
The attackers beat up at least 12 women and children and torched and looted at least five shops and two houses at Ghoshpara village of Jongra union on the third day of the opposition-sponsored 71-hour blockade.
The incident fuelled concerns over a fresh spell of attacks on the Hindus as men of the village have fled in fear of further attacks.
Earlier on October 28, Jamaat-Shibir men along with BNP activists unleashed a terror on another Hindu majority area at Shafinagar in Bawra union during hartal, torching at least 18 shops.
Ghoshpara, situated nearly 87 km from the district headquarters, is only three kilometres away from Shafinagar.
Opposition activists on November 4 also attacked another village at Satpatki Majhipara in Sadar upazila. They vandalised and looted several houses after villagers had refused to pay them toll.
About 200 to 250 Jamaat-Shibir activists and supporters led by Patgram upazila unit Shibir president Rana Islam yesterday made a sudden attack on the shops and houses from a procession, said police and witnesses.
They vandalised and looted three groceries owned by Manik Chandra Ghosh, Subhas Chandra Ghosh, and Jamini Ghosh, a fertiliser shop of Khokan Chandra Ghosh, and a pharmacy of Koyel Chandra Ghosh. The attackers also vandalised two houses belonging to Koyel Chandra Ghosh and Dhanjit Ghosh Tapos, president of Bangladesh Chhatra League of Rangpur district unit.
Locals were confused about the reason behind the attack. Some said the Jamaat-Shibir men were angry with Dhanjit and attacked his and other Hindu houses.
A number of Hindu villagers however alleged that ruling party men had instigated the attack.
Police arrested Nazrul Islam, member of local Union Parishad and former president of Shibir of Patgram upazila.
Officer-in-charge of Patgram police Sohrab Hossain said Rana was a listed criminal and was on the run.
Gopal Chandra Barman, general secretary of district Puja Udjapan Parishad, said several male members of at least 23 Hindu families had left the village and were in need of security.
Rabindra Ghosh, president of Bangladesh Minority Watch, said after the two incidents, the Hindus of Patgram were living in fear and a sense of insecurity.