Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Some 20 Hindu families from the villages of Kalibari, Kajir Hat and Keramotia, in the sub-district of Sonagaji, southern Bangladesh, have become the victims of extortions and blackmail by members of the local Muslim majority, this according to representatives of the local Hindu minority. They complain that young Hindu women are being abducted to extort money from their families.
Initially Jafar, Yunus, Saiful, Ripon, and other Muslims set up a criminal gang. Their first deed was to demand 45,000 taka (US$ 650) from the family of Nitia Das, in Kalibari.
When other Hindus resisted attempts to extort money, the gang began persecuting Hindu families in the area’s villages.
They abducted one young woman, demanding a ransom of 50,000 taka (US$ 725) for her release.
In a second case a family had to pay 25,000 taka (just over US$ 360) to get the release of the young woman involved.
A local Hindu, Boloram Das, who is related to the second kidnap victim, said that more threats have been made against local Hindus.
One of the gang members, Yunus, is now threatening to marry a young Hindu woman against her will and that of her family.
“Neither villagers nor police are willing to help us,” he lamented. In addition, “at least 20 Hindu families from the area are unable to go home.”
Human rights activist Dipal Barua said that attacks against minorities are very much on the rise in Bangladesh.
Strongly condemning violence, he called on the government to “take proper actions against the extortionists as soon as possible.”