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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  May, 2004  Ahmadiyya persecution picks up speed
Ahmadiyya persecution picks up speed

The Daily Star
Vol. 4 Num 341Sun. May 16, 2004


Ahmadiyya persecution picks up speed
Official inaction contributes to insecurity

Last month, anti-Ahmadiyya zealots, with the police virtually cooperating, took it upon themselves to storm the Ahmadiyya mosque in Nakhalpara to remove any books that they deemed unlawful under the government’s January order banning all Ahmadiyya publications. This month it has been the ransacking and looting of Ahmadiyya homes in four villages in Rangpur. In addition to the attacks on their homes, the Ahmadiyya communities have been isolated and ostracised in their villages. Ahmadiyya children cannot attend school and the adults cannot go to the market for fear of reprisal.

The most disturbing aspect of this renewed violence against the Ahmadiyya community has been the indifference of the local authorities to their plight. Not only did the local police take no steps to stop the ransacking of their homes, and have done nothing to reinstate Ahmadiyyas as full members of the community in the affected villages, the local police claim to know nothing of the attacks. Ahmadiyya community leaders contend that the police refused to record any case when the complaint was taken to them.

When the authorities, whose duty it is to protect every person within their jurisdiction, are unwilling to take steps to safeguard a threatened community, then they must be considered just as culpable as those who actually commit the violence. The disgraceful dereliction of their duty to protect the minority community renders the local Rangpur police complicit in the atrocities.

It is bad enough that the government caved in to its extremist allies and banned Ahmadiyya publications, thereby emboldening the anti-Ahmadiyya zealots and further marginalising the community. We reiterate our call for the unconstitutional ban to be lifted. But, at the very least, and without delay, the government must commit to ensuring the safety of the Ahmadiyya community from any kind of attacks that it is suffering in Rangpur.

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