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Bangladesh: Don’t let religious extremists divide society

Friday 11 March 2016, by siawi3

Source: Dhaka Tribune - february 23, 2016

Tribune Editorial

The murder of Jagneshwar Roy, the Hindu priest of the Santo Gaurio temple who was stabbed to death in Panchagarh on Sunday, was a despicable act designed to spread fear and divide communities.

Police have detained two JMB men and a Shibir activist for their suspected involvement in the murder.

Every effort must be made to ensure this leads to all the murderers being found and brought to justice.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. In the past year, religiously motivated militants bombed a Shia religious procession and carried out more vicious targeted murders of secular writers.

The threat posed from such terrorism must be taken seriously. Recent disclosures by law enforcement officials indicate that militants have been actively planning attacks on public gatherings.

Bangladesh needs to stand firm against all groups and individuals, from whatever quarter or organisation, who seek to divide communities and spread violence.

It needs to be a top priority for authorities to make more progress in identifying and catching all the perpetrators involved in carrying out and organising the earlier killing cases. The longer such individuals remain at large, the more likely it is that they or others will be emboldened to strike again.

There is no excuse or justification for murder. The government cannot allow impunity. It must act unequivocally to show zero tolerance for those who commit murder and seek to spread hatred and violence.

The government needs to provide more reassurance that every effort will and is being made to protect the public. It must ensure sufficient support for law enforcement authorities to help them both track down the perpetrators responsible and to improve intelligence to guard against groups that plan to harm the fabric of our society.


The Daily Star, February 22, 2016


Murder of Hindu priest: Yet another assault on our pluralist fabric

We vehemently condemn the attack on a Hindu temple and the murder of a priest, that too on a day which, for Bangladeshis, symbolises plurality, tolerance and secularism. As per our reports, unnamed miscreants attacked a Hindu temple in Debiganj upazila of Panchagarh at 6.30 am yesterday. They stabbed the 50-year-old priest to death and fired several gun shots and exploded crude bombs while fleeing the spot, leaving a devotee critically injured.

We strongly feel that the attack – the third of its kind on a minority religious leader in the last five months – cannot be brushed aside as an isolated incident but should be looked at from the broader perspective of escalating extremism and intolerance in the country. Last year, we witnessed attacks perpetrated against the minority community, including the blasts in the historic Kantaji Temple in Kaharol upazila in December, attack on a Shia mosque in Shibganj upazila in November, and bomb explosions at Hossaini Dalan at Dhaka in October. These incidents, in addition to the attacks on foreign nationals and freethinkers, have led to a regrettable scenario in which we — in particular our minority communities — feel increasingly vulnerable.

We have consistently called upon the government to address this looming threat to our inclusive, syncretic and secular fabric, and to arrest the perpetrators and masterminds of such violence. We would like to know what, if any, progress has been made on the previous investigations, and remind the authorities of the urgency with which these perpetrators ought to be apprehended. Unless we can tackle this menace of extremism head-on, we risk losing the ideals which form our national identity.