SAFFoRB condemns violence against Hindus during the Durga Puja festival in Bangladesh

SAFFoRB condemns violence against Hindus during the Durga Puja festival in Bangladesh

South Asia Forum for Freedom of Religion or Belief (SAFFoRB), which includes some Global Ministries partners in the region, strongly condemns series of attacks that happened in Bangladesh since 13th October, 2021 on the Hindus, their houses and temples by Muslim extremists while they were celebrating their religious festival – Durga Puja.

Hindus constitute nearly 10 % of the total population and the second largest religious community in Bangladesh. Durga puja is an important cultural festival for Bangladeshi Hindus. Unfortunately, on 13th October, 2021 upon the rumor of desecrating the Holy Quran in the Puja Mandap, a group of miscreants attacked the Darpan Sangh puja Mandap in Comilla city. This incident initiated a chain reaction of similar events around the country throughout the Durga puja festival period. It is reported that around 6 people have been killed during the communal attacks, many were injured, dozens of Hindu temples were attacked and many houses were burnt down in Bangladesh. The situation continued to be tense in different parts of the country. The nature of the attacks suggest that these were done by the religious fanatics and communal forces with malicious intention and prior planning to sabotage the celebration of Durga Puja.

SAFFoRB demands that, to ensure justice, strong and effective legal actions be taken against those who planned the attacks and were involved in commencing the attacks. We note that the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has affirmed- “anyone involved in these heinous crimes will be not be spared and it doesn’t matter which religion they belong to”.  Even though a good number of suspects have been detained, the violence still continues. Therefore, more deterrent actions are required.

SAFFoRB urges the Government of Bangladesh to punish those who are responsible for spreading rumor with malicious intention and unleashing mob violence, according to the Bangladeshi laws. SAFFoRB also demands that the victims of communal attacks be fully compensated by the Government of Bangladesh.

SAFFoRB supports the ongoing anti-communal movements in Bangladesh and the call of Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity council protest through hunger strike on October 23rd.  

SAFFoRB calls upon the people of Bangladesh to safeguard the spirit of their liberation war, the secular ethos of the Bangladesh Constitution and protect their pluralistic Bengali culture.

SAFFoRB extends support to the Hindus of Bangladesh to exercise their right to practice religion freely and express solidarity with them at this difficult time.