Hundreds of Hindu families are on the streets to evade assaults
More than hundreds of Hindu families living in the village of Betmari in Sherpur Sadar Upazila (sub district) within Sherpur district in the division of Dhaka, Bangladesh have become paupers overnight and are forced to run from pillar to post for security. They have left their ancestral village and are living in open meadows. On June 20 they had been assailed by local Islamists and while members of 5 Hindu families have been lucky enough to take refuge in the office of Zilla Puja Udjapan Parisad (District Puja Council), others are in fields. The problem erupted with the love affair of Ratan Rabidas, son of Puni Rabidas, a Hindu individual living in Uttarpara of Betmari village, with a Muslim girl named Seema, daughter of deceased Rashid Mian and also student of HSC. Ratan works in a garment factory and when they realized that social conditions would not let them have a happy life, the couple fled on June 10. It has been learnt, Ratan, out of fear, was ready to convert to Islam but local Muslims are not ready to accept marriage of any neo-convert to Islam with a Muslim girl in fear of violating religious sanctity.
On June 16, 2014, local UP chairman recovered the couple and organized a council for arbitration in the village. The Muslim girl or Seema accepted the love affair and told that she had fled with the youth without any coercion. However, this confession failed to gratify a few powerful Islamists including Sahidul (maternal uncle of the girl) in the village who demanded stringent punishment for the Hindu youth. When the situation went out of control and a furious mob was almost ready to attack Ratan Rabidas, the UP chairman handed over the couple to the local police. On June 17, as a result, radical Muslims unleashed a wave of attacks on Hindu houses in the village resulting in grave injuries of lots of Hindus. Apart from ransacking Hindu residences, they also warned Hindus to leave Bangladesh fast.
Finding no other option above-mentioned Hindus had left the village of Betmari. While only a few have taken shelter in their in-laws’ houses, others are in meadows yet. On June 20, a police team entered the village for investigation but Islamists attacked two Hindu abodes before them. Following departure of police, the same two houses were plundered. A few Hindus got hurt.
Hindus, at the moment, do not know what to do and are moving form pillar to post in search of security. But they are yet to get any help. When asked, Shanti Rani, wife of Tufan Rabidas, a local Hindu individual, was found lamenting. She termed that the love affair between Ratan and Seema earning wrath of local Muslims only had become a nemesis for them. Dulali, a Hindu housewife of the same village, stated that she had been out of residence with her children for three days at a stretch. Dulali’s husband is a barber by profession and owns a saloon also. But since Muslims have boycotted Hindus, the saloon is closed. Same views were expressed by other Hindus, terrified enough to return to their ancestral village. Even if local administration has been requested by human rights organizations to save Hindus, it has not been found to adopt any strong approach in this regard.
Hindu Samhati regularly monitors and reports violations against Hindus in West Bengal. We also work with both governmental and NGO agencies for proper education on protection and ensure remedies to the Hindu populace as per prevailing law of the land.