Pirgachcha upazila has become the latest target for repression
of minorities. On Monday August 23, armed hoodlums with alleged
links with BNP torched 22 houses belonging to Hindus injuring
20 villagers, looting cash, crops and cattle.
Around 35 to 40 BNP activists armed with machetes, swords
and daggers attacked Adam Sarkerpara, a village with a majority
of Hindu inhabitants, setting fire to the houses after spraying
gasoline and kerosene on them.
According to an eyewitness, Abdul Mannan and two of his nephews
who are all BNP activists, led the vandals. One of the nephews,
Raju, is an accused in a rape attempt while another, Saju,
in a land grabbing case. Two years ago Raju was caught red-handed
while trying to rape a Hindu girl of the village. The girl's
parents, fearing social repercussions did not press any charge
under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act but
did lodge a case with Pirgachcha Police Station accusing Raju
of threatening them.
Saju, meanwhile, is accused of illegally occupying eight bighas
of land of a Hindu widow, Indu Mai, of the same village.
After losing her home and land, Indu Mai was forced to flee
to India. A case was filed with the Police Station regarding
the occupation. Saju had been giving death threats to the
Hindu families if they did not withdraw the cases. When the
villagers refused, the brothers decided to teach them a lesson,
raiding the village, setting it to fire and robbing the houses.
The hoodlums beat up anyone who tried to put off the fire.
In the attack, 50 year old Abdur Rahman was critically injured
in the head.
After the targeted houses had been completely burnt down,
the bandits left with 18 cows and Tk. 60,000 in cash. The
villagers managed to catch three of the thugs who were escaping
with seven cows and handed them over to the police. While
the BNP district unit President said that the raiders had
to be punished, he denied that they were connected to his
Raging channel of the Buriganga keeps devouring more houses.
At Basila the diverted channel of the river Buriganga has
so far gobbled up 26 houses. The erosion began on August 13
after the river had been forced to change its course due to
illegal construction of four brick kilns and a dyke built
by the kiln owners.
To tame the river Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation
(BIWTC) started dredging an additional channel near the kilns
on August 25. It has, so far, dredged the river 12 to 15 feet,
while the diverted channel is 72 feet deep. As the erosion
threatens new areas, some locals are dismantling their house
and moving to safety. Many are staying at others' houses.
The residents fear that the river may gobble the entire area
Threats to Hasina
Hikmatul Jihad, a previously unheard-of organisation, has
claimed responsibility for grenade attacks on Awami League
(AL) rally and vowed to assassinate the Leader of the Opposition
and AL President Sheikh Hasina in a week. "We are coming
and this time we will (accomplish) our target within seven
days. It's a promise," one Hyder Rob, representing the
organisation, said in a message emailed to Bangla daily the
Prothom Alo in August 23 Monday night.
The incident took a dramatic turn when the police found out
the cyber cafe, Heart.net, from where the email was sent.
Shaibal Saha Pratha, an unemployed young man, was arrested
for sending the threatening mail. But experts told the Daily
Star (DS) that it would be practically impossible to track
down the sender as the Heart.net also provided shared Internet
connections to 23 nearby computers. " The cafe uses a
Windows server and Network Address Translation for routing
and does not keep a Connection-tracking Log, which means it
is highly unlikely that the sender of the email can be traced,"
the DS report continues.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004