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    » 07/11/2014, 00.00

    BANGLADESH

    12 Muslims arrested from group that attacked the church of Boldipukur

    Sumon Corraya

    The robbers were after documents pertaining to land ownership. Not the first attempt to steal the deeds. The parishioners are mostly tribal, very poor and poorly educated and often Muslims try to take over their lands. During the attack, three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape.

    Dinajpur (AsiaNews) - Police have arrested 12 Muslims accused of taking part in the robbery of the Catholic church Boldipukur July 6 and the police are looking for other accomplices.

    During the assault three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape and are now in Dhaka, in their provincial home, trying to overcome the shock and mental suffering. "It's very sad that the sisters cannot continue to work for the people, but our sisters are no longer safe," said Rosaline Costa Catholic human rights activist. "I have lodged strong complaints over the attack on these religious sisters - she adds- and the Church, if the Church is not safe nobody will go to the seminary or formation house to become priest or nun. It is a challenge for church". La Costa has called for the punishment those involved in the attack.

    In fact, from the day of the robbery, Boldipukur Christians have been living in fear for their lives. According to Boldipukur Church sources, the Muslims who attacked the church were looking for documents on land ownership and the attack on the nuns as well as the theft of valuables. Their main goal were documents pertaining to land, and its not the first time they have attempted to steal them.

    The attack began at 2 in the morning of July 6. The attackers took two night watchmen, bound them hand and foot and gagged them. They then broke down the door of the room where the assistant pastor Father Anselmo Marandy was sleeping and they also raided the convent. The PIME sisters ran the St Mary's Primary School Adibashi in Boldipukur. The Muslim thieves wanted to know where the land documents deeds were and even beat up the nuns.

    The parishioners are mostly tribal, very poor and poorly educated and often Muslims try to take over their land. The Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace is working on this problem, but with poor results.

    Rights groups call for the punishment of the assailants. "We want exemplary punishment of those involved in the case", said Nirmol Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association. He also asked the government for a thorough investigation on the attack and security for all the churches throughout the country.

    IN THE PHOTO: Bishop Sebastian Tudu and the police during an inspection of the site of the robbery.

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    See also

    17/04/2015 BANGLADESH
    Bishop of Sylhet: Protection for tribal Catholics, victims of expropriation and threats
    At Easter a village inhabited by Khasia suffered a heavy attack from a group of Muslims. The real aim of the aggression was to force the community to abandon the local tea plantation, of which it has legal usufruct. The pastor: "We live in fear."

    23/03/2010 BANGLADESH
    Boldipukur: a 500-strong mob of Muslim extremists attack Catholic church
    Several people are injured during the attack, five seriously. Ownership over land held by the parish church is at the heart of the dispute. A local priest insists the conflict is not about religion, but that religion was used as a pretext in the case. Police are after 17 Muslims who fled following the incident.

    27/08/2009 BANGLADESH
    Bangladesh: Muslims threaten Catholic women of Dewtola village
    At the root of the tensions Christian ownership of stalls in the local market. The women are helpless because most of the men of the village have emigrated to Europe or moved to Dhaka to find work.

    11/11/2015 BANGLADESH
    Dinajpur, new attacks on Christians: family flees burning home
    A group of Muslims attempted to burn an entire Christian family, accused of witchcraft. A victim: "We lost everything, we live in absolute poverty. If we do not withdraw the complaint the consequences will be worse". In recent weeks many attacks on Christian-owned properties: the real intent is land expropriation.

    26/10/2009 BANGLADESH
    Pressure on Catholic family to rob them of house and property
    Muslim groups have shot at the house and have built a wall to expropriate the land, while the police fails to intervene. "Allah Akbar" in place of the cross. Other Christian families have had to leave the area.



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