Khulna bigots threaten to attack Ahmadiyyas
Six more houses looted, 3 beaten up in Satkhira
Encouraged apparently by police inaction during Sunday’s attack on Ahmadiyyas in Satkhira, religious bigots now in Khulna threaten to attack the Ahmadiyya neighbourhood in the district’s Koira next Friday.
Meanwhile, Khatme Nabuwat men continued attacks on Ahmadiyyas yesterday in Shyamnagar of Satkhira for three consecutive days since Sunday. They looted six houses and beat up three Ahmadiyyas on Monday night, said witnesses.
Ahmadiyyas in the area were still in a state of confinement yesterday. The local bigots are guarding the neighbourhood round the clock so that Ahmadiyyas cannot come out of their houses. Many of the injured in Sunday’s attack have not yet been able to go to local hospitals while parents have stopped sending their children to schools.
Different rights organisations and civil society have repeatedly been calling for government intervention to quell the attacks on Ahmadiyyas, but to no effect, alleged locals.
The International Khatme Nabuwat Movement, Bangladesh (IKNMB) operatives injured 50 Ahmadiyyas and looted at least 10 houses in Shyamnagar on Sunday. The anti-Ahmadiyya outfit has long been demanding government move declaring the sect non-Muslim.
Sources in Khulna said Khatme Nabuwat leaders held a number of meetings in different areas of the district to mobilise locals for next Friday’s programme.
“Using loudspeakers they are asking people to rally behind them in ousting Ahmadiyyas from Koira,“a Khulna police officer said seeking anonymity.
The IKMNB leaders are citing the outfit’s ‘success’ in Satkhira to encourage their workers.
Led reportedly by local leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, a key component of the ruling Four-Party alliance, Khatme Nabuwat men looted six Ahmadiyya houses in Harinagar area of Shyamnagar at about 9:30pm on Monday, reports our Satkhira correspondent.
The houses that were looted belong to Ahmadiyya leaders Ahmad Ali Mollah, Sheikh Wadood, Ayub Ali, Abu Bakar Siddik, Abu Daud Morol and Sheikh Mannan.
“Before leaving, they threatened that they would not stop until the Ahmadiyyas are driven out of the area,” said a witness.
Some 20 IKMNB operatives led by Abdul Alim and Kamrul waylaid schoolteachers Nawsher Ali and Abdus Sadeq and another Ahmadiyya named Arafat at Harinagarbazar and beat them up.
Besides, seven other Ahmadiyyas who got out of their homes for grocers shopping were battered badly. After filling their bags with bricks and blocks of concrete, the bigots forced the seven to return home.
The Ahmadiyyas were still confined to their houses, said a local source adding that even the injured are not being allowed to seek treatment at hospitals.
“If the situation remains the same, many Ahmadiyyas would starve to death,” said the source.
Meantime, police yesterday foiled an IKMNB rally at Haricharan High School. The meeting was called to drum up support for its anti-Ahmadiyya campaign.
Although police were posted at different points in Shyamnagar, the bigots are continuing attacks on the Ahmadiyyas.
Meanwhile, the police claim to arrest six bigots for attacking the Ahmadiyyas in Shyamnagar Monday was learnt yesterday to be false.
“Save us from the wrath of the fanatics, ensure our freedom of religion,” Ahmadiyya Nayeb-e-Amir Prof Meer Mobashwer Ali pleaded yesterday.
“We are not demanding any favour. As law-abiding and peace-loving citizens of the country, we have every reason to stand up for our rights enshrined in the constitution,” Prof Mobashwer said at a press conference at Ahmadiyya headquarters in Dhaka.
The bigots attacked Ahmadiyyas right before the eyes of magistrate, police, Rab (Rapid Action Battalion) and Bangladesh Rifles. They went on a looting spree in Shyamnagar but the law enforcers did not try to stop them, he said.
“Whereas the law enforcers are supposed to stop the bigots, they hung the signboard at our complex for them (IKNMB),” Mobashwer said.
Nayeb e Amir of Ahmadiyya also said, “When the world community is expressing concern at the rise of religious extremism in Bangladesh, the ruling parties are claiming to have a religious harmony.”
South Asian People’s Union against Fundamentalism and Communalism and Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday condemned the attack on Ahmadiyyas in Satkhira. The organisations also expressed concern over renewed threats on the sect.
A statement signed by 48 civil society leaders asked the government to immediately arrest the culprits of Sunday’s attack.