BNP on Thursday alleged that minority community members are moving out to India leaving Bangladesh due to torture under the current Awami League government.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also questioned as to why the government is not repealing the …‘Vested Property Act’ enacted during the Pakistan period.
"Why’re the minority people moving out to India although Awami League has long been in power? What’s the reason behind it? The reason is that the level of repression on them (minorities) has increased during this time with an aim to grab their property, loot their valuables and take other advantages,” Fakhrul observed.
He said Awami League used to say they want to protect communal harmony and the interests of minorities. “But the party has so far not revoked the Vested Property Act and ensured the fair rights the minority people have.”
He trashed Awami League leaders’ comments that the number of minorities left Bangladesh was higher during BNP’s rule in 2001.
“If you conduct an investigative report and see the media reports at different times, you’ll find the number of minorities going to India has increased these days,” Fakhrul claimed.
About the recent communal attack in Sunamganj's Shalla upazila, he said ruling party men carried out the incident with an aim to grab the lands and valuables of the minorities. “If you conduct research, you’ll see such attacks led by Awami League leaders were made after the Liberation War with the same motive.”
Referring to a newspaper report, Fakhrul said a ruling party MP occupied several hundred acres of land of minorities in his home district Thakurgaon two years back. “Minorities there formed human chains and took out processions, but didn’t get redress. Similar incidents happened in many other places, including in Faridpur. But it’s unfortunate that Awami League always tries to hide these incidents by shifting the blame onto others.”
He said though a Jubo League leader led the attack on Hindu community members at Shalla upazila and Obaidul Quader blamed BNP for it only to mislead people.
“We want to make it clear that the Awami League has never been in favour of the minority community or they’ve never been in favour of communal harmony in the country. Rather, they’ve always occupied the property of the minorities resorting to terrorism.”
Speaking at the press meet, party vice-chairman Netai Roy Chowdhury, who visited Shalla upazila and talked to the victims, said the attack was premeditated one. “The houses and temples were vandalised and looted at the Hindu-inhabited village in Shalla upazila.”
“During our visit to the spot, we’ve witnessed indescribable destructions at the homes and worship places of the victims. The victims clearly told us that hundreds of people, led by local Juba League leader Swadhin Miah, came to the village and looted all valuables and furniture of about 60-70 houses, and destroyed windows, doors and fences of the houses. They beat men, women and the children,” he said.
The BNP leader said ‘Harmad Gang’ of Awami Jubo League, carried out extensive vandalism and looting at the Hindu houses and temples.
He alleged that the incident took place due to the negligence of the local administration and the help of the ruling party leaders. "Even after the incident, the administration didn’t take any immediate action. Two cases were later filed in the face of widespread criticism.”
Netai Roy said 25 people have so far been arrested in connection with the incident and most of them are the ruling party supporters.
"We strongly condemn and protest the heinous and cruel acts against the Hindu community at Shalla and demand the arrest and punishment of all those involved in the incident,” the BNP leader said.
He urged the administration to come forward to rebuild houses, temples and places of worship damaged during the attack, and ensure overall security to the Hindu-inhabited areas.”