11/25/2015, 00.00
BANGLADESH

Bangladeshi inter-faith forum leader attacked

Alok Sen is the secretary of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Parishad, a forum that brings together Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. He was attacked as he left home. The reasons for this remain unknown but some fear it might be in retaliation to the hanging of two opposition political leaders.

Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Two men armed with kitchen knives attacked the leader of a forum that supports inter-faith dialogue in Bangladesh.

Alok Sen, a Hindu, was attacked as he left home in  Faridpur District, Dhaka Division. Nazim Uddin, a local police officer, said that Sen's shouts attracted his wife’s attention, which prompted his attackers to flee.

Such an act of violence is nothing new. Last week Fr Piero Parolari, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), survived a serious attack in the diocese of Dinajpur.

Sen heads the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Parishad, an organisation that brings together Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.

The group is considered to be close to the political positions of the Bangladesh Awami League, the party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The religious leader said that he did not have any enemies and did not know those attacked him.

The motive in fact remains unclear. However, some fear that it might be in retaliation to last week’s execution of two political opponents, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, and  Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Both had been accused of war crimes dating back to the 1971 Indo-Pakistani conflict.

Recently, Catholic sources told AsiaNews that the country’s tense political situation could explain the attack against Fr Parolari.

Now the Hindu leader’s attempted murder could further aggravate an already tense situation, marked by continued violence against minorities, secular thinkers and intellectuals.

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